Reviewed by Helyce
Sometimes doing the right thing just doesn’t seem worth it. That’s how it seems, anyway, for Danson Connor. One night, he’s innocently taking out the trash behind his hardware store when he witnesses a cold blooded murder. The kicker, he recognizes the killer. After the body is dumped, Danson calls 911 and before he knows it he’s in the middle of a very high profile murder case. His name appears on the police report so it’s not long before this killer is sending not so subtle messages. When Danson’s hardware store is burned to the ground, he realizes that he’s in real danger. So Danson, his sister and her two boys are placed into protective custody until the trial. Once his sister is settled all the way across the country, the DA sets Danson up with a new name, background and a job in Virgin River doing custom kitchens, for Haggarty Construction.
Leslie Petruso has been divorced for over a year now, but she’s been unable to move on because her ex-husband is still too much a part of her life. He insists that they remain friends and have an amicable relationship but Leslie wants nothing to do with him. Her ex has had no problems moving on. In fact, he remarried almost immediately and his new wife is expecting a baby. In the small town of Grants Pass, it’s too easy for Leslie to run into his new wife and her baby bump and she’s had it. She needs to get away and she’s determined to do just that! Lucky for her, her boss at Haggarty Construction has the perfect answer. His son Paul has expanded the business and is now settled in the small town of Virgin River. He’s got more work than he ever dreamed of and his wife can’t keep up with the paperwork and take care of their young children. So, Leslie’s move is a win win situation all around.
With his new name and new background in place, Connor Danson arrives in Virgin River and settles into his cabin along the river. He then heads to Jack’s Bar for a beer and some dinner. He’s not there long when a nice looking woman walks in and settles herself at the other end of the bar. It’s been a while since Connor’s been involved with a woman. He was married at one time, but he’s divorced as well and not in any hurry to do it again. He loved his wife with everything he had, and she completely betrayed him, not once, but many times. He’s not interested in romance. All he wants is to do what he has to until the trial and put all that behind him. He’s not blind or immune to a pretty girl, however.
Connor and Leslie have more in common than they know. They both have had bad experiences with marriage and as they try to get their lives back on track, the last thing they want is to get involved with anyone. They are both adapting well to life in Virgin River. Leslie is getting Paul’s office organized and her “take no shit” attitude has earned her the respect of the crews she’s working with. Connor is really enjoying the hands-on custom work, something he is good at and has always wanted to do, but never had the opportunity.
So, it’s no surprise that two people who are not looking for love, should find it. A chance meeting one day, a misunderstanding and Leslie’s crazy ex-husband actually push these two together, in spite of what they think they don’t want. Fate has other plans and as they spend time together and get to know one another they find more than common ground. They learn that you can fall in love again and in doing so all previous hurts can heal and become a distant memory. As Connor and Leslie fall deeper in love, Connor struggles with the lies he’s had to tell in order to maintain his cover and keep not only his sister safe, but Leslie as well. He’d never forgive himself if anything happened to Leslie or anyone in Virgin River, a town he’s come to think of as home.
Hidden Summit is book 17 in Ms. Carr’s long running series featuring the people who live in the town of Virgin River. Hidden in the mountains of Northern California, Virgin River is a place where community and family are at the forefront. This is a town where its inhabitants truly care for each other and go the extra mile whether you’re a long time resident or a stranger fallen on hard times. Virgin River is a magical place where broken hearts and injured souls seem to effortlessly heal just by being there and once you’ve experienced the town it is very difficult to leave. In Hidden Summit we see two people, previously burned in the love department find that there is such a thing as a second chance. That it doesn’t have to come with a price and you shouldn’t have to be someone you’re not in order to deserve that love. We see that total honesty is necessary in a relationship and that lies can be forgiven.
As a huge fan of this series I look forward to the short Christmas novella (Bring Me Home For Christmas-reviewed on 11/4) and the trilogy that Ms. Carr releases early each year. I know that when I start a Virgin River book I will not be able to put it down and I will fall in love with the town and its people all over again. In each book, we revisit characters from previous stories and get updates on their lives. And while I have heard the term “cookie cutter” used to describe this series I adamantly disagree with this description. Ms. Carr does a wonderful job of weaving in new characters and story lines whether they just happen to be driving through Virgin River or go there on purpose like Leslie and Connor did in this story.
I really enjoyed Leslie and Connor’s story of love, forgiveness and second chances. I have a very small, teeny, tiny dislike as it relates to the murder trial. It all seemed to wrap up a little too nice and clean considering how much build up there was toward the end. I didn’t mind what the author did regarding the killer, only that I would have liked a little more information and background to the “why” of it all.
If you enjoy romance with real people who experience real problems and sometimes have to really fight for their happy endings, I strongly recommend Robyn Carr’s Virgin River series. And while I know that a series with 17 books under its belt can be a bit intimidating-I would recommend that you at least read the first three: 1) Virgin River, 2) Shelter Mountain and 3) Whispering Rock because the characters introduced therein reappear the most throughout the series.