Rising sous-chef Kelly Matlock's sudden collapse at work is a wake-up call. Disillusioned and burned out, she's retreated to her sister Jillian's house in Virgin River to rest and reevaluate.
Puttering in Jill's garden and cooking with her heirloom vegetables is wonderful, but Virgin River is a far cry from San Francisco. Kelly's starting to feel a little toounmotivated…until she meets Lief Holbrook. The handsome widower looks more like a lumberjack than a sophisticated screenwriter—a combination Kelly finds irresistible. But less appealing is Lief's rebellious stepdaughter, Courtney. She's the reason they moved from L.A., but Courtney's finding plenty of trouble even in Virgin River.
Kelly's never fallen for a guy with such serious baggage, but some things are worth fighting for. Besides, a bratty teenager can't be any worse than a histrionic chef…right?
In My Own Words:
Kelly is confronted by a very angry wife, the wife of the famed chef and mentor that she adores. The same wife she was told was no longer in the picture, she begins to feel like the world is falling off its axis. With the revelation that all is not as she imagined and that her mentor and lover (in her mind only) has lied to his wife AND to her and sent the wife to do the dirty work and clean up the mess. After winding up in the hospital with high blood pressure, she quits her job, packs up her life and heads to Virgin River for some R&R with her beloved sister, Jillian. Deciding she needed some liquid courage to break the news of her extended stay to her sister, she stops at Jack's for a drink and meets Lief, a single father just trying to make it after the death of his wife and a teenage daughter hell bent on rebelling.
As Kelly starts to heal, she starts to find herself and what she was meant to do, what she has always known she should do....cook. Using the vegetables and fruits from Jillian's garden, she starts using her great grandmother's recipes and canning tons of goodies. Along the way she meets someone at the farmers market, that changes her life AND direction. Deciding she might just be able to make a living doing what she loves with her canned goodies, the new path is now set. Now all she has to do is make it happen.
Kelly's biggest fan happens to be Leif, he loves just watching her cook, but loves sampling even better. When the sparks start to fly, it is Kelly that is resistant to love. Leif has so much going on in his life, Kelly starts to tire of being his school time fling, since he seems to only be able to see her when his teenage daughter, Courtney, is in school. While trying to win over Courtney, which seems to be a loosing battle, Courtney is contacted by her biological father, and that is when all hell breaks loose. Can Kelly win over a broken, needy and traumatized teen before she looses her sanity?
"Sometimes I really hate you." He smiled a bit. "I get that a lot." (Courtney in a therapy session)
Every time I read a Virgin River book, it feels like coming home. I wasn't so sure about this one, single father looses wife has temperamental teen who hates everyone. But what was done was soooo different. Yes, the story was one that you knew in the end they would all end up happy, but it was done in a way that you weren't so sure how they would get there. I really enjoyed getting to see Jack and Preacher again. And of course Jillian and Colin, but it was so great to see Kelly and Leif work through their issues, together. I loved getting to see the therapy sessions with Courtney and Jerry. He had a no nonsense way about him that she seemed to thrive on. I really enjoyed Courtney and Amber's relationship, is totally a don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover story. They both had ideas about the other and turned in to best friends. My only complaint would be we didn't see Mel once, and since she is my favorite, I wanted to see her and catch up with her. Understandably, Kelly and Leif had lots to work out and needed the book space, I just wish she would have popped up, even at the Halloween picnic.