Marine corporal Rick Sudder is home early from Iraq—his tour ended abruptly on the battlefield. The carefree boy is gone, replaced by a man who believes his future is as bleak as his mirror image. But can the passion and commitment of a young woman who has never given up on him mend his broken body and shattered heart?
As the people of Virgin River rally around Rick, another recent arrival tests the tightly knit mountain town's famous welcoming spirit. Dan Brady has a questionable past, and he's looking for a place to start over. He'd like it to be Virgin River…if he can find a way in. But he never expects to find it in the arms of a woman who was as much an outcast as himself.
For a favorite son returned from war and an outsider looking for a home, Virgin River offers them a chance to make peace with the men they once were…and to find the dreams they thought they'd lost.
Paradise Valley is the 7th book in the Virgin River series. With so much war going on in today's world, this story hit really close to home. We have known Jack's friends, the Marines. We have even read about their HEA, but Rick's story was recent and chronicled his struggle with losing a limb while trying to be everything he thinks everyone needs and wants. His recovery is a hard one, being only 20 years old at the time of his accident. The love and support that he is shown by Jack and his girl Liz is remarkable. The whole time I am reading this story, the only thing I can think, is...is this kid gonna pull his head out of his butt in time or is Liz gonna get sick of it, and move on.
As with many of the Virgin River books, we meet new people and sometimes old ones that pop up from time to time. Dan Brady is the mysterious pot grower that took Mel to deliver a baby in the back woods. He also helped rescue Paige when her crazy ex kidnapped her. Dan was also the man to pick up Jack after the forrest fire. With all the good he has done, does the town think he is worth a fresh start? I love that Dan plays a pivotal role in helping Rick get over some of his anger. Will it be enough?
We also see Cameron and Abby's journey from their chance meeting in Grants Pass, to being friends and parents. I wanted so much for them to get their issues worked out. Cam had a special place in my eyes from the first time we met him while he was trying to court Vanni. Cam is a take charge kind of guy, but Abby is someone that has a lot of pride and needs to prove to herself and everyone else, that she can make it one her own. Does she let him in?
"Gentlemen, I propose a toast," Jack said, lifting his glass. "Let's drink to silence. If this conversation ever leaves this bar, we're all going to die...Skinless."
This was one of my favorite stories of the Virgin River series, right behind Jack and Mel's story. There was so much raw emotion after the accident that took Rick's leg. It was gut wrenching to see him struggle and know that this happens all over the world in today's society. I loved that Liz is so young but so old at the same time. She has pride and sass and learns not to take any crap. Again, we revisit lots of old friends and get to know a few new ones. If I had one complaint, the phrase et cetera was used A LOT, after a while it began to get on my nerves, but obviously that is a minor issue. In out household, we are DIE HARD OSU Beaver fans, and the school that Rick decides to attend is Uof O which is our arch rival, so I took serious offense to that, but knowing what he is planning to study made it a little easier of a blow considering OSU doesn't offer that. I am very much looking forward to Forbidden Falls.