My Kind of Christmas
MIRA / Ocotber 30, 2012 / $7.99 print, $6.71 digital
The Riordan brothers may have a reputation for being rough-and-tumble, but Patrick has always been the gentle, sweet-natured one. These days, his easygoing manner is being tested by his high-octane career as a navy pilot. But for the Riordan brothers, when the going gets tough…the tough find the love of a good woman.
Except the woman who has caught Patrick’s attention is Jack Sheridan’s very attractive niece.
Angie LeCroix comes to Virgin River to spend Christmas relaxing, away from her well-intentioned but hovering mother. Yet instead of freedom, she gets Jack Sheridan. If her uncle had his way, she’d never go out again. And certainly not with rugged, handsome Patrick Riordan. But Angie has her own idea of the kind of Christmas she wants—and the kind of man!
Patrick and Angie thought they wanted to be left alone this Christmas—until they meet each other. Then they want to be left alone together. But the Sheridan and Riordan families have different plans for Patrick and Angie—and for Christmas, Virgin River–style!
My Kind of Christmas is the latest installment in Robyn Carr's long-running Virgin River series, which at this point is as much about the ever-evolving community of Virgin River as it is about the individual romances featured in each book; just as in real life, the hero and heroine are never isolated from the people around them. This leads to richer, more interesting story tensions.
That general theme continues in My Kind of Christmas. What I liked most about this entry in the series was that the main romantic couple, Patrick and Angie, were dealing with realistic issues, and that those issues were part of what they had in common, part of what drew them together. More specifically, each had suffered a traumatic life upheaval. Each was trying to figure out their next step for themselves, but also learning how to balance their own decision-making with responsibility to their families and friends.
Angie, a medical student, was badly injured in a serious automobile accident, and is trying to decide whether she wants to return to school or spend some time in the Peace Corps or with a similar organization.
It seemed for Angie as though things would forever be divided into life before the accident and life afterward. While there wasn’t much that she remembered from the car accident itself, there were certainly a few moments that stuck out in her mind. She remembered how close she came to dying that cold, drizzly March evening, lying in an emergency room covered with blood, and that it was her long-dead grandmother who was attempting to help her cross to the other side. She hadn’t told anyone in her family about that little detail.
Angie had been in a coma for three days and had to fight her way back to the world through a postanesthetic and pain-med haze. Friends, family and medical experts had wondered for weeks if this bright, driven young medical student would have any mental handicaps as a result. She did not. However, as often happens, the experience changed Angie forever.
Meanwhile, Patrick is a Navy pilot whose best friend, also his wingman, was recently killed while they were on a mission together. Patrick is attempting to deal with his grief and, at the same time, be emotionally present for his dead friend’s widow. He also has to decide if he will return to active duty as a pilot or in a desk job, while trying to avoid interference or help with his decision from his well-intentioned large family.
Angie and Patrick are attracted the first time they see each other in the town of Virgin River. After their recent encounters with death, neither hesitates very long before pursuing a relationship, even if they think it might only be short-term. Their attachment naturally deepens as their shared issues come to light, so their relationship is entangled with, and helps develop, their re-entry into the world of the living, both as individuals and as a romantic couple.
Victoria Janssen is the author of three novels and numerous short stories. Her World War One-set Spice Brief is titled “Under Her Uniform” and is a tie-in to her novel The Moonlight Mistress. Follow her on Twitter: @victoriajanssen or find out more at victoriajanssen.com.