The young widower arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and build a place of worship and welcome, but he needs some help. And the Lord works in mysterious ways. With her tight shirts and short skirts, "pastor's assistant" is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Alicia Baldwin. But the former exotic dancer needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. So the pastor and the stripper revitalize a church . . .
It sounds like a bad joke, a stripper, a minister and a small town bar....but it is none other than the next story in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. Forbidden Falls is book #8 in the series. In all of Robyn's stories, you get way more than just one love story, and that is the case for Forbidden Falls as well. The main story is of a minister that buys the run down church next to Jack's bar from Hope McCrea. Using his own money, he sets out to make the church his new home. From the start he realizes he can't do it alone and interviews 3 women for the job of assistant. Ellie is a sassy bombshell with a body that kills and brains that you don't expect. I loved her from the start. A young woman down on her luck looking to make some changes for herself and her two young children. Noah isn't sure her kind of help is going to be what he needs, but he decides to give her a chance after running in to her at Jack's bar. They become good friends way before any type of love is brought up, but he falls in love with her hook, line and sinker (and baggage).
The second story is of Vanni and Paul. Paul ex-girlfriend dies suddenly and leaves him in her will. The reading of the will is VERY unexpected and when he returns home from Grants Pass, things between Vanni and Paul become very strained. Ellie befriends Vanni and becomes her friend, therapist and right hand man, so to speak. Ellie is also the one the helps Vanni see the light and help her through the crisis that a dead woman created.
"Struggling is mandatory. Suffering is optional." (George, Noah's mentor, helping him see the light)
One of my favorite things about this book are all of the quotes from Ellie's grandmother. I felt so much emotion in this book from joy and love to pain and misery. We get to revisit some of our old friends while making new ones. I loved how the town of new friends came to help Ellie in the end, even if was only support. A truly heart warming book.