Robyn Carr is a New York Times bestselling author from Minnesota. She is well known for writing the Virgin River book series, but before becoming an author she trained to be a Nurse.
She married her high school sweetheart and followed him from one airforce base to another while he flew helicopters for the Vietnam war.
Robyn was intending to pursue her nursing career once they had settled in one place, but pregnancy complications forced her to rest instead.
Robyn began reading romance novels to fill her time while she was off her feet, and it became a passion of hers. As a mother of two in the 1970s she began to write her own romance novels.
She now lives in Las Vegas with her family and is one of the most popular romance writers in America. The Virgin River books series is arguably Robyn’s most well-known work. It is set in a rugged outpost in the redwood forests of California.
The tight-knit community has strong family bonds, but they are also very welcoming to newcomers. The people of Virgin River face many trials and tribulations throughout the course of the books, as well as love and heartbreak.
Virgin River has now been turned into a television series created by Netflix.
About The Virgin River Books
The first book in the Virgin River series was published in 2007. There are now 21 novels in the collection, and fans have loved delving into the world of Virgin River and its inhabitants.
Whilst Robyn Carr has been known to write historical fiction, this book series is a contemporary romance set in the modern day. The main character of the books is Melinda Monroe, Mel for short, who responds to a ‘Wanted’ ad.
The small settlement of Virgin River needs a midwife and nurse practitioner. It is the perfect fresh start that is looking for – she can focus on her work and escape her heartbreak.
When Mel arrives at Virgin River it is nothing like she imagined – treacherous roads, run-down cabins, and a very unfriendly Doctor. She regrets her decision and decides to leave in the morning, but her plans change when a tiny baby is left on her doorstep.
Over the course of the books, Mel falls in love with Virgin River and its people. They accept her as one of their own, and she becomes a part of their day-to-day lives and dramas.
She also finds love with former marine Jack Sheridan, but their path to happiness is not straightforward and there are many bumps in the road.
The books also follow the loves of the other characters in Virgin River, dealing with themes of love, loss, betrayal, family relationships, and much more.
All of the characters are unique and well-developed, and you will find yourself falling in love with Virgin River just like Mel did.
The Virgin River Books In Order
This is a list of the Virgin River books in the correct order that you should read them, with a guide to each book.
Mel is a midwife who moves to the small town of Virgin River for a fresh start after having her heart broken. She was expecting a picturesque cabin overlooking crystal clear waters nestled in the redwood forest.
What she finds is a run-down cabin in a poorly maintained town and a Doctor who doesn’t seem pleased that she has taken the position. She decides to go back home but then finds an abandoned baby on her porch.
She realizes that the people of Virgin River need her just as much as she needs them. Mel is a strong female character, but with plenty of femininity and a soft, kind nature.
She has a slow-burn romance with Jack, the local heartthrob, and an ex-marine. Their feelings develop slowly over time, which is realistic given what Mel went through before she moved to Virgin River. By the end of the book, Mel is an accepted member of the community.
- The midwifery element of this story is very interesting and well-written
Mel has to deal with some intense medical scenarios which might be too graphic for some readers
Virgin River resident John Middleton is closing up the bar when a stranger walks in from the rain. She is soaked through and covered in bruises and has her three year old son with her.
Her name is Paige, and seeing her in trouble stirs up feelings in John that he would rather forget. John makes it his mission to protect Paige and her son, and strong bond forms between them.
But their newfound happiness is threatened when Paige’s ex-husband arrives in Virgin River. John knows that Paige is worth fighting for, but will they get their happy ending?
John is a former marine with a strong sense of duty, He is faithful and protective, and is immediately drawn to Paige. Their love is tender and is lovely to read about.
Whilst John and Paige are the main focus of the book, you also get to find out more about Mel and Jack and other characters who were featured in the first book.
- The story is told from multiple perspectives which makes it very interesting
- The domestic abuse theme might be triggering for some readers
Mike is a marine reservist who was badly injured in the line of duty. He moves to the small town of Virgin River to heal, in the hopes of finding somewhere peaceful he can settle down.
He makes a good impression on the locals and agrees when they ask him to be their first police officer. In previous years, Mike has been a bit of a ladies’ man and has been married and divorced twice.
He wants to put that life behind him and longs for a deep, committed relationship. He finds his perfect woman in Brie Sheridan, who also moved to Virgin River in search of a safe haven after a traumatic experience.
She used to be a prosecutor in Sacramento and has an appreciation for Mike’s sense of duty and service.
The love that Mike and Brie share strengthens them in ways they couldn’t imagine, which makes this book very uplifting and hopeful despite the struggles faced by the main characters.
- This is a moving love story about two people who are looking for a second chance in life
- Brie’s traumatic past is quite upsetting
In this festive story set in Virgin River about having a second chance at love. Marcie is a war widow who lost her husband a year ago. He was injured in the line of duty and another soldier rescued him, dragging his body onto a medical transport.
Marcie wants to track down the soldier who saved her husband’s life and allowed them to have a few more years together before he passed away. The trouble is, the man disappeared as soon as he returned to the U.S.
Marcie managed to track down the soldier to the small town of Virgin River. Ian doesn’t know what to make of Marcie when she arrives. She is determined and strong-willed, with a kind and generous heart.
But she manages to break through his tough exterior and find the tender man underneath. But will Marcie’s help be enough to help Ian overcome his tragic past?
- The characters are well-developed and interesting
- The pace is quite slow and steady which might not suit some readers
This is another excellent installment of the Virgin River series. The main characters are Vanessa and Paul. Vanessa gives birth to her son just months after burying her husband, Matt. She is still grieving, but she is filled with newfound hope.
Paul was Matt’s best friend, and he has done all he can to help Vanessa and her son. He has also been hiding his secret love for Vanessa which he has harbored for years.
When the moment arises for Paul to declare his feelings and maybe find happiness, the arrival of another woman in town throws a spanner in the works.
Whilst the main focus is on Vanessa and Paul, some old favorites from Virgin River are also featured heavily in the story.
Readers get another installment of Meg and Jack’s romance, as well as an update on John and Paige and some of the other much-loved characters.
- There is plenty going on to keep you hooked, and the stories are woven together expertly
- The main characters don’t get as much attention as you might want them to
This is a book about an unlikely romantic pairing that should never work, but somehow it does. Luke is a 38 year old pilot who has survived a dangerous military career.
He has a tough exterior paired with a jaded attitude and a fear of commitment, as proven by his string of one-night stands. Shelby has spent the last 5 years caring for her mother, but it’s finally time for her to start living a life of her own.
At 25 years old she has the world at her feet and dreams of traveling, studying, and falling in love. But when she visits the small town of Virgin River, her plans change. Luke and Shelby should be wrong for each other.
Neither of them was expecting to fall in love, but maybe they have found exactly what they need. Shelby’s hopeful and determined attitude paired with her strength and tenacity makes her totally lovable.
Luke is frustrating but endearing, and their chemistry is tangible.
- Temptation Ridge is a fan favorite in the Virgin River series because of the characters
- You don’t get to learn much about the other characters of Virgin River in this book
This is another romantic book in the Virgin River series, but it also focuses on other themes like war and PTSD. Rick returns to Virgin River a changed man after his tour in Iraq.
His carefree attitude has been replaced by a bleak outlook on life, but there is one woman who has never given up on him, and she isn’t going to start now. Another arrival in Virgin River stirs up the town.
Dan has a shady past and is looking for somewhere to start over, but struggles to fit in with the tight-knit community. He finds comfort in a woman who is also struggling to be accepted.
The home they were both looking for might end up being a person rather than a place. Both men in this story are searching for peace, and hoping to find it in Virgin River.
- This book explores interactions between other characters in the town – some familiar and others that are new to the readers
- There is a lot going on and it can be difficult to follow all of the plot points
This is the second Virgin River Christmas story. Every year, the residents of Virgin River gather in the town square to decorate their Christmas tree. But one Christmas, they discover a box of abandoned puppies underneath the tree.
They need the help of Nathaniel, the local vet. The mystery box of puppies causes quite a stir, but it is Nathaniel’s love life that seems to get people talking.
Annie is a salon owner who was just passing through the town square to look at the Christmas tree when she became involved in the puppy drama. She and Nathaniel hit it off right away.
- The budding romance amongst the glow of Christmas makes a swoon-worthy focus for this sweet story
- This light story has less emotional depth than some of the others
Noah is a widowed reverend who buys an old run-down church in the small town of Virgin River. The town is buzzing with the news of the newcomer. Noah needs some help to renovate the church, but he finds an assistant in the most unlikely of people.
Alicia is a single mother who is fighting to regain custody of her children. She needs a respectable job, and Noah is the right person to help her. She is loud and colorful with an interesting past.
Noah is struck by Alicia’s determination to turn her life around, and her outlook on life is just the revitalization he needs for his own. The love story between Noah and Alicia is charming and totally irresistible. The characters are so different yet so perfect for each other.
- This book has some sections that relate to Paul and Vanessa from previous books, which is nice for fans of the series who want an update on the characters
- Alicia’s story is quite tragic and sad
Fanci and Sean fell in love during their time in the air force. What seemed like the perfect pairing came to an end when they could not reach a compromise – Franci wanted to settle down and have children but Sean didn’t – so they went their separate ways.
Four years later they are reunited by chance. Time hasn’t cooled the fiery chemistry between them, and Sean sees this as his second chance with Franci.
He is a changed man, and settling down with Franci could be just what he needs to find true happiness. But there was more to their break up than he realized. Franci has a 3 and a half year old daughter, Rosie. She is Sean’s daughter.
He is furious that Franci kept her a secret, but Franci had been worried when Sean hadn’t wanted to settle down. The news spreads across Virgin River and it seems that everyone in the town has an opinion.
But what does Sean think? Can he forgive Franci, and give their love a second chance?
- Franci and Sean’s story is told from multiple perspectives, with plenty of previous Virgin River characters featuring in the story
- Franci’s character isn’t always very likable
Erin is 35 and struggling with loneliness now that her younger siblings have grown up and moved away. She decides she needs a break from her city life and rents a renovated cabin in the quiet town of Virgin River.
She plans on journaling, meditating, and spending some time finding herself. What she doesn’t plan on is forming a connection with a scruffy man from the mountain. Aiden is a military doctor who has just left the navy and is taking some much-needed rest.
He is interested in Erin, the pretty woman from the city – even if she is a little snooty. He wants to get to know her better, but she seems to be keeping him at arm’s length. It doesn’t help that his crazy ex-wife is scaring her off.
The romance between Erin and Aiden seems like a non-starter, but thanks to some meddling from your favorite Virgin River characters, their spark turns into a flame.
- You get some updates on what is happening with other couples in the town, like Mel and Jack
- The pace of this book is quite slow and the romance is a slow burn
This is a festive Virgin River story set on New Year’s Eve. The townspeople gather at Jack’s bar to see in the New Year, each of them eager for a kiss with a special someone at midnight.
Locals and visitors alike drink and celebrate, enjoying the holiday atmosphere. Sunny and Drew are both visiting Virgin River from outside of town.
Sunny is still bitter about love after being left at the altar a year earlier, and Drew is recovering from a heartbreak of his own. But when Drew spots Sunny from across the bar he is instantly drawn to her.
Can they find comfort in each other to heal their hearts? New Year is a magical time when it feels like anything can happen, so it is the perfect setting for this romantic story. It ends on a hopeful note, leaving you uplifted.
- You get to find out more about what happened to Nathaniel and Annie from Under The Christmas Tree, as this book takes place a year later
- The story takes place over a short period of time so you don’t get much chance to get to know the characters
Clay Tahoma is thrilled to take the position of veterinary assistant in Virgin River. He has spent many years working on ranches around L.A. and is ready to retreat into the quiet, rugged forest.
The redwood forests appeal to his Navajo roots, and he receives a warm welcome from the townspeople. Apart from Lily. Lily Yazhi isn’t fooled by Clay’s earthy, strong appeal.
She knows plenty of men like him from her own community and feels that his traditional charm is just an act to charm wealthy L.A. women, including his ex-wife. The only problem is, she can’t seem to help develop feelings for Clay.
It goes against her nature, yet there is something about him that she is drawn to. Clay is befriended by some familiar characters including Nathaniel, Paul, and John Noah.
- There are plenty of background stories to keep you updated with the other happenings in the town
- This feels a bit like a filler book that is designed to set up events that will come into play later on in the book series
Colin Riordan, the younger brother of Luke from Temptation Ridge, is badly injured in a helicopter crash. He comes to Virgin River to rest and to heal – both from the physical injuries and the emotional scars.
Whilst his family and friends are being very supportive, his only real comfort is in the artwork he has begun to create. Jillian is a PR expert from the city who has moved to Virgin River to escape a disastrous love affair.
One day she sees a strange man in her garden, sitting by an easel. As Jillian and Colin get to know each other they realize that they have more in common than they realized.
They are both searching for a more simple life – will they be able to find it together in Virgin Creek?
- This is a gentle romance story with a satisfying ending and a level theme of healing
- There are a lot of crossovers – it ties in with smaller plotlines about other characters such as Rick, Jack, and Luke
This story is about Jillian’s sister, so it leads on nicely from Wild Man Creek. Kelly is a sous chef who is overworked. After collapsing at work, Kelly decides to take some time off to stay with her sister in Virgin River.
Jillian has been working on creating an organic farm, which gives Kelly the perfect opportunity to tend to the plants and use some of the produce to continue her passion for cooking.
Kelly still isn’t a huge fan of her new lifestyle in Virgin River, until she meets. Leif. He is a screenwriter and has been a single parent to his stepdaughter Courtney since her mother died.
Courtney is rebellious and difficult, which is why Leif decided to move from Los Angeles to Virgin River. Despite his baggage, Kelly can’t help herself from falling for Leif, but has she bitten off more than she can chew?
- The characters are well-written with good chemistry
- Jillian’s organic farm has come together very quickly which isn’t very realistic
Becca and Denny broke up three years ago and she has never gotten over it. He joined the army after college, and she moved on with her own life, but their relationship still plays on her mind.
She decides to take matters into her own hands and spend some time in Virgin River, Denny’s hometown, in an attempt to put these old feelings to rest.
Becca is an uninvited guest, but her spontaneous visit turns into an extended stay when she is stranded in Virgin River due to bad weather. She is stuck with Denny over Christmas, still battling with her unresolved feelings for him.
But when she has the opportunity to get to know him as a changed man, she finds she might even love him more than she did before. The setting of Christmas makes this charming story even more romantic.
You get the nostalgia of lost love and the hope of new love, all wrapped up in one couple.
- This book will get you in the festive spirit and leave you feeling warm and sentimental
- You don’t get many updates on other characters in Virgin River
Connor and Leslie have one thing in common – they have both given up on love. Leslie has moved to Virgin River to escape her ex-husband and his new wife who seem to be rubbing their happiness in his face.
She enjoys her peaceful life working at Haggerty Construction and uses her expertise to improve the efficiency of the business. So much so that they need to hire an extra worker – Connor.
Connor is reeling from heartbreak and has sworn off women. This makes his chemistry with Leslie a challenge, and he is determined to ignore their spark. But how long can you ignore a spark before it becomes a fire?
- This is a thoroughly entertaining novel that brings together old and new characters from the Virgin River series
- Connor’s character is very mysterious and it takes a long time for the reader to get to know him
Dylan is an ex-actor who is taking a motorbike trip to Virgin River with his friends.
He needs some time to clear his head as he has a big decision to make – should he continue with his failing aviation business, or accept one of the many offers he has received to return to acting in Hollywood?
Dylan and his friends cross paths with Katie, a single mother on a trip to Virgin River with her twin sons. She has a flat tire, and two hungry children, and it is pouring with rain. Katie accepts Dylan’s help, and there is an immediate spark between them.
But Katie has been hurt by love before, and the last thing Dylan is looking for is a committed relationship. Can they overcome their fears to make the most of the special connection they have found in the most unlikely of places?
This book leads nicely on from Hidden Summit, as Katie is the younger sister of Connor. She is in Virgin River to visit him and meet his girlfriend, Leslie.
- Jack features quite heavily in the book, which is a nice treat for fans of the first few books in the series
- The characters are not as well developed as some of the others from previous books
Tom is a former marine who returns home to Virgin River to take over his family’s orchard. He is ready to settle down with the ‘right kind of woman’ – demure, sweet, and stable. But he can’t help being drawn to Nora Crane, who is the total opposite.
Nora is a single mother who has been through a lot. She is tough and determined and will do whatever it takes to support her family. When she helps out with the harvest at the orchard she finds herself distracted by Tom.
He is opinionated and difficult yet oddly charming. Will Tom and Nora’s different ideals keep them apart, or can they find a way to learn from each other?
- This book is particularly popular with fans due to the romantic setting of the orchard and the fiery passion between the characters
- Tom’s character feels very similar to a lot of the other characters featured in the series
This Christmas story features another of the Riordan brothers. Patrick is known for being more sweet and gentle than Luke and Colin, but he has still seen his fair share of action in his job as a navy pilot.
When Patrick returns home for Christmas he finds himself smitten with Angie, the niece of Jack Sheridan. She is spending Christmas with her Uncle and is finding him overbearing and overprotective.
If Jack had his way, Angie would never date a man – let alone a Riordan like Patrick! But Patrick is just the type of man Angie is looking for.
- The opposing families are forced together when Patrick and Angie fall in love, which makes for a wonderful Christmas message of friendship
- This story is quite short which some readers might not like
Return To Virgin River is the final book in the series. Kaylee is a successful author with a looming deadline. She is struggling with writer’s block, which is worsened by her grief over losing her mother.
Her home is filled with many happy memories, but she needs a change of scenery if she is going to finish her book.
Kaylee rents a cabin in Virgin River and feels inspired by the location of the redwood forests, but her hopes are dashed when she arrives to find her rental cabin has burned down.
Unsure of what to do, she heads to Jack’s bar where she is met with a group of local strangers who are more than willing to help her out.
As the holiday season approaches, Kaylee finds more and more reasons to live in Virgin River, especially one resident in particular.
- This is a sweet and charming story that readers will enjoy
Kaylee’s grief might be triggering for some readers who have lost a parent
Each book in the Virgin River series focuses on a different set of characters, so you could read them in a different order if you prefer.
However, reading them in chronological order will give you the smoothest reading experience and is the best way to get to know the town of Virgin River and its people.
Some of the stories and characters overlap because the community is very close, so it is better to read the books in the right order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Virgin River book series.
Do You Have To Read The Virgin River Book Series In Order?
Each book in the Virgin River series focuses on a different story so you don’t have to read them in a specific order. However, the best way to read them is in chronological order if possible.
Does The Virgin River TV Series Follow The Books?
The Virgin River television series takes different storylines from across the book series and weaves them together in each series. The main focus is on Meg and Jack from book one, with plenty of other characters featured in the show as well.
Who Are The Main Characters In Virgin River?
Mel and Jack are the main characters in the first book of the Virgin River series, but many characters are featured across the different books. Each book focuses on a different section of the tight-knit community of Virgin River.
What Is The Main Theme Of The Virgin River Book Series?
The Virgin River book series covers a range of themes and topics. It is predominantly a romance series, so the main theme is love – but not always the happy side of it.