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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr

Angel’s Peak by Robyn Carr
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full (394 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 Books
Reviewed by Fern

Four years ago, Air Force sweethearts Franci Duncan and Sean Riordan reached an impasse. She wanted marriage and a family. He didn't. But a chance meeting proves that the bitter breakup hasn't cooled their sizzling chemistry.

Sean has settled down in spite of himself—he's not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci left, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history…but that's not all they share.

Franci's secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now three and a half: a redheaded cherub named Rosie who shares her daddy's emerald-green eyes. Sean is stunned—and furious with Franci for the deception.

News travels fast in Virgin River, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle—and the kind of love that can move mountains.

Angel’s Peak, the second volume in Robin Carr’s Virgin River series, is a story consisting of multiple characters, interconnected and intersecting paths, and subplots. Although the blurb indicates you are taking the journey of Sean and Franci -- a couple who parted bitterly four-years before, yet are serendipitously reunited -- there are several other romances, conflicts, and stories that take place.

The beginning of Angel’s Peak is as promised, and we are introduced to Franci and Sean. Sean is in a bar, desperate to get away from his newlywed brother and sister-in-law, when he sees his former flame stroll through the door with friends. When Franci gave him an ultimatum to start a life together consisting of a marriage, family, and children, Sean all but showed her the door. He was happy with the way things were and didn’t need a piece of paper to declare his commitment. After seeing her again, however, he knows he made a huge mistake.

Deciding to try and rectify the situation, Sean waits for Franci outside the bar in an attempt to talk to her. It doesn’t go well, but he isn’t willing to take no for an answer. As he becomes more insistent, demanding an explanation for her refusal to so much as speak to him, the truth is revealed; Franci was already several months pregnant with their child when she put him on the spot and, upon his admission he never wanted children, fled from him in an effort to give her child love and not the resentment that would arise from married parents bound to one another through obligation.

As Sean struggles to come to terms with what he’s lost, yet inadvertently gained, he knows he has to make things right with Franci, ensure she realizes he’s changed, and persuade her to give him a chance to prove they can be so very happy together.

From this point forward, the story branches into multiple stories that are connected via the characters with a relation, friendship, or interest in one another. You get snippets from Franci’s mother, Vivian, Sean’s mother, Maureen, as well as his brothers and their spouses. There are also portions dedicated to the couple from the first book (which admittedly, I have not read), as well as local residents who are prominent in the community. It’s a very large roster of characters, yet instead of becoming the supporting cast, they are given (and take up as much, if not more) page time than the hero and heroine.

Unfortunately, while I enjoy a story with richness and depth, I found the multiples points of view distracting. As this was Sean and Franci’s story, I wanted to know more about them, their relationship, their feelings, what it was like to try and start all over again. I wanted to experience what they were going through, where they were with things, how they were going to cope with the very real possibility that soon Sean would be deployed overseas. Yes, portions of this are present, but for me there just wasn’t enough to invest in these two characters in particular. Instead, the points of view shift from one story to the next, and just when you settle in, you’re taking a different journey in someone else’s shoes.

There are positive things to be said, however, especially in regard to the writing style, dialogue, and scenes that make your heart clench and your stomach knot. When Ms. Carr decides to bring on the emotion, she goes for the throat. I loved the scenes with Sean, Franci, and Rosie, and couldn’t wait for them to come together as a family. I also enjoyed the scenes with Noah and Ellie, as well as those between Sean and his brothers. There is humor, there is pain, and there is hope, which are essential elements in any fantastic story.

Those who love elements of romance, a bit of tension, and a large cast of characters will enjoy Angel’s Peak. There is quite a following in this series and I’m certain the fans of the first offering will not be disappointed.