31 August 2010

Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr)

Caveat: I don't mean any disrespect to either the author or her work, so I apologise in advance if I cause offence - it is not my intention to do so.

I should rename the title of this post. *shrugs* But, I'm sure you all know right from the get go that this is less of a review and more of a rant. So, I finished reading Temptation Ridge (Robyn Carr), the sixth book in the Virgin River series, earlier this week. Those of you who follow my status updates on GoodReads will have a fair idea what I thought of this book.... but since I have a hard time keeping quiet... *grin*

So, where to start? Certain things still work well with this series - I love the small town feel, the connections between the various characters. What isn't working for me is the the 'collecting'. In a way, JR Ward does the same thing...characters appear that are just what the 'collective' ('You Will Be Assimilated' [sorry, had to be said *grin*]) needs. For example, this book sees the introduction of not only a character who renovates cabins for rent (thus providing tourists with local accommodation) but also a character who becomes the new family physician (he is also a trained paediatrician, which will come in very handy [see below]) for the town....lucky coincidence, huh? And I know for a fact that an OB GYN will be making an appearance in a forthcoming book. Actually, it is slightly disconcerting how many of the characters have careers related to women's health and children... But onward and upward...err....

Early in the book I read this stunning paragraph:
...Shelby had been thinking, I want to join the ranks of women my age, women who are my friends, both old and new, and have what they have - the relationship building, romantic and physical love, idealism and passion and even the struggles. She wanted all of it. She was due. She wanted to be whole. She wanted a man.
(And those italics were of the author's inclusion, not mine.) Those of you who are thinking of getting your eyes tested need not. You did indeed read what you just read. The heroine of Temptation Ridge (Shelby) wants to be whole...and to be whole she needs a man. I wondered what my problem was.../sarcasm. Which leads me nicely into the main theme of the book, a theme that seems to be the be all and end all for every character - marriage and children. And when I say every character I mean the men too - they hold birthing parties for goodness sake! Now, don't get me wrong, marriage and children isn't a bad thing. And I don't have a problem with happy families either (I'm just not quite sure what one is). But...families come in all different shapes and sizes, some with children, some without, some heterosexual, some homosexual, some related by blood and some by love. Yes the author is writing a heterosexual contemporary romance, but...once the characters fall in love does marriage plus children have to appear over the horizon like a tropical storm? For everyone? And in case you think I'm exaggerating, I've been reliably informed that Shelby (the heroine) falls pregnant straight away (not quite sure where that leaves her college plans) and, directly after giving birth discusses additions to the family. *heads desk* (And the pregnancy rate for previous heroines? 60% [And I'm not counting the heroine of the previous book who gave birth to her first child and then fell in love with the hero.]) Now, I'll admit, I haven't had children, so I could be completely wrong...but IIRC friends who have given birth have informed me that the last thing new mothers want to talk about straight after labour is having more babies! (To be fair, said friends did say that they started forgetting how bad the labour was as time progressed - probably nature's way of attempting to ensure women have more than one child :) But still!!! Would it hurt for the author to include a couple that might want to wait to have a child...or not want to have a child? *shock horror* And what about a couple who can't have a child...nope, had that with the heroine of the first book (Virgin River) and she had a miracle pregnancy...two actually.

The difference between the current (and previous) heroine(s) and 'other female characters' is quite...obvious:

He'd get into her without falling in love when she was a young women clearly designed for true love, for permanence.

Some good, old-fashioned, all-American, slutty girls, hanging out in the bar and buying drinks for straight men...They had high, perky boobs and fluffy hair. In spite of himself, he briefly considered how much sexier Shelby was in her jeans and boots, her white shirts with rolled-up sleeves and fresh face, leaving everything to the imagination.

OK. I think I can spot the difference. *rolls eyes* Oh, and before I forget - this heroine is small! And just in case I forgot that detail I was provided with numerous reminders - four in the first love scene - with the hero commenting twice that the heroine could only weigh 110 pounds. (I looked that up - that's only 50 kg!) I get it, she's tiny. Enough already! And then there is the 'I've fallen in love' moment. More and more I want to get inside a character's head and understand why they fall in love...what draws them to the other person. And more and more that doesn't seem to happen. Don't tell me you're in love....tell me why!

I could go on (and on :) about how darn nice every character is, how beautiful all the women in the town are and how everyone seems to love having numerous (and frank) discussions about sex and women's health. But, I'm sure my ranting has gone on long enough. This book, this series, is pure sugar. (Dentists everywhere will run screaming.) And you'd think, with all these issues, it would be easy to walk away. And part of me does want to give up on the series entirely...but part of me wants to know what happens with certain characters. *SIGH*

So, do you have a series you should probably walk away from, but you just can't give up?

9 comments:

  1. Oh, I've walked away from a number of series, Virgin River among them. My problem with the series is multi-faceted. The men are completely unrealistic. I always flashback to Jack telling Mel how he marvels at the miracle of her body because it "gave him is children" after she comments that she's gained about 20 pounds. Now look, I love the sentiment, but any man in his right mind is going to look for the nearest and most expedient exit when his woman comments that she's put on weight. But not Robyn Carr's men, the go into raptures about women's bodies and the miracle of them. Oh please!

    Second, it does seem that Virgin River is a microcosm of every single women's issue out there. I think it's remarkably admirable that Carr addresses those issues, but she does it in a ooey-gooey way that I don't care for.

    I read the first seven books in the series before I realized that these books give me a toothache.

    All that being said, the first and second books, Virgin River and Shelter Mountain, are both like warm fuzzy blankets that I love to pull over me when I need a good love story.

    *shrug*

    I'm weak. :o)

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  2. I usually just give up on them. :)

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  3. For reasons that escape me, I have at least the first three books in this series in the fearsome and ever expanding TBR mountain range--really, don't ask, for I don't know why!

    I've been extremely leery for starting it for other reasons, but what you just quoted would have been more than enough to give me pause. A woman needs a man to be whole? (or, more to the point, a human being needs another human being to be whole).

    Pardon me while I go retch (and compose a post on the matter--the rant is too long for a comment, sorry).

    To answer your question, there is only one series right now that I want to quit--in fact, I thought I had managed to quit--but still read: J.R.Ward's BDB. (And I totally blame amazon's trick of pricing a new release paperback at $9.99 when Lover Mine came out--who on her right mind could resist that? and how could I read Lover Mine without reading Lover Ahvenged--which was out in paperback at the time too! So, see, it's not my doing, it's amazon's fault!)

    *cough*

    Yeah.

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  4. I always flashback to Jack telling Mel how he marvels at the miracle of her body because it "gave him is children" after she comments that she's gained about 20 pounds.

    OMG! I can't believe I forgot to mention that. I think I was rolling my eyes for over a minute when I read it! Because 1) you're right, men would run away if a women mentioned she has put on weight; and 2) because 'his children'. Ahhh...'our children' might have been better.

    And I agree with you that almost every women's issue is discussed, but...I can't put my fingers on it. It just doesn't sit right. I think it's all to in my face. And I have to be honest, my issues with this series started with Shelter Mountain. Mike was saying some things I just didn't think were realistic and...I still think Brie got over the rape rather quickly. It just didn't...sit right (if that makes sense). *SIGH* Am tempted to read Paradise River and Moonlight Road - both because I want to see what happens with Cheryl. Maybe I can just read her scenes?

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  5. Chris - I should. I don't know why I'm fighting giving it up. Oh, I know - I'm insane :)

    ...in the fearsome and ever expanding TBR mountain range...

    azteclady - my TBR list feels like a mountain range ATM. Am going to take control back, which is why QOSAS (CL Wilson) has vanished. I will read it, just when I have some breathing room and am not so tense :)

    Oh, if you write a post please let me know when it's live and I'll be there with bells on. And yes, that sentence had me yelling. One thing I'm trying to teach myself ATM is that I am whole just as I am...I don't need anyone else to do that. Will be interested to see what the unnamed expert makes of that particular sentence :)

    Evil Amazon for side-stepping your BDB blockade :) I read Lover Mine (mainly for Qhuinn & Blay - was reading my post about it last night and laughing :) And I will read Lover Unleashed, but only for Qhuinn & Blay - neither Payne nor Manny interest me. It's all Team Quay *grin* Are you going to read Lover Unleashed?

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  6. Hm. This book sounds kind of gag-worthy.

    I have a big, big pet peeve with books that push the whole marriage-and-babies thing. And not just because I'm neither married nor babied, but because it perpetuates the idea that a woman's only value to society is her ability to perpetuate it by birthing more little humanz.

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  7. I love books with lots of babies lol. It’s just a thing of mine :o) But I haven’t read this series and honestly I probably never will. It’s just never appealed to me and I’ve never had the urge to pick one up. I think the line about needing a “man” to complete oneself was the nail in the coffin for me to never read this series. I’m sure they are lovely books, but they just don’t sound like they are for me.

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  8. I lost all interest at that stunning paragraph you quoted at the beginning of your post. I actually have the marriage and babies thing going on, but real life happily ever afters aren't tied up neatly with bright, shiny bows ... so when a book has that kind of story, it loses a lot of credibility with me.


    ..once the characters fall in love does marriage plus children have to appear over the horizon like a tropical storm?

    LOLOL! You crack me up. At least you said tropical storm and not natural disaster! ;p

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  9. heidenkind - let's just say I yelled at this book a lot :) It's the the marriage & babies theme itself that I object to, it's that that's the only theme the book seemed to push. And there should be others...

    LeeAnn - that one line almost had me putting the book down. And...I don't mind books with babies, I just want...variety (if that makes sense :)

    Christine - that line was a doozy, wasn't it :) And you've hit the nail on the head - real life happily ever after is messy...and the books are so far from that. It's very...Stepford. And no natural disasters :) But, in this series you can feel it looming over the horizon.

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