From the Publisher:
Kaylee Sloan’s home in Southern California is full of wonderful memories of the woman who raised her. But the memories are prolonging her grief over her mother’s recent death. A successful author, Kaylee hoped she could pour herself into her work. Instead she has terrible writer’s block and a looming deadline.
Determined to escape distractions and avoid the holiday season, Kaylee borrows a cabin in Virgin River. She knows the isolation will help her writing, and as she drives north through the mountains and the majestic redwoods, she immediately feels inspired. Until she arrives at a building that has just gone up in flames. Devastated, she heads to Jack’s Bar to plan her next steps. The local watering hole is the heart of the town, and once she crosses the threshold, she’s surprised to be embraced by people who are more than willing to help a friend—or a stranger—in need.
Kaylee’s world is expanding in ways she never dreamed possible. And when she rescues a kitten followed by a dog with a litter of puppies, she finds her heart opening up to the animals who need her. And then there’s the dog trainer who knows exactly how to help her. As the holidays approach, Kaylee’s dread turns to wonder. Because there’s no better place to spend Christmas than Virgin River.
I had never read a Virgin River book before this one, but I am familiar with the setting and characters thanks to the Netflix tv series, which I binged earlier this year. So picking this up and reading felt like visiting old friends, although I should read the books too.
This book centers on Kaylee, who is grieving terribly for her mother. She and her mom were very close, best friends, and Kaylee is struggling with her grief and sadness. She has a book deadline due, and finds herself too distracted by her memories of her mother in her home to be able to work, so she takes the advice of friends and heads off to find some space to write, away from the barrage of memories. And the mountains and the town of Virgin River are the perfect spot to find this space. Until she arrives and finds the house she was planning on finding that peace and quiet, destroyed by fire. Luckily the people of Virgin River are helpful and kind, and Jack and Mel, who feature prominently in the tv series, give her a bed for the night.
Unfortunately, Jack has family coming to town and Kaylee can’t stay there for long – after looking at a few places, she learns of a guest house owned by an artist and dog trainer, Landry. She is a bit nervous at first, due to a paralyzing fear of dogs, but between the house being perfect and Landry (also being perfect) assuring her that she will be safe, she moves in.
And from here, the real healing and story begins. Kaylee finds so much more than she was bargaining for when the story began, and the reader just finds so much happy. There are the usual small hurdles that the characters need to conquer, and also the large one of Kaylee’s grief, but this book really is the happiest of happy books.
I picked this up after a particularly stressful month in a particularly stressful year, and it was a wonderful distraction that took my mind off of things. If you are looking for something easy with a HEA, full of warm characters and kindness, this book is for you!
Thank you to Little Bird Publicity for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!