Carr is at book 19 in her Virgin River series and the novels continue to deliver heart-warming, small-town romance with well-drawn characters. If there is any weakness, it is the awkward inclusion of a new character who will obviously be the subject of her next book.
Nora Crane was abandoned in Virgin River by her drug-addict boyfriend, the father of her two daughters. She’s desperate to earn money and takes a chance on a good-paying job picking apples that will require her to walk miles. She’s told “no” by gruff orchard owner Tom Cavanaugh, a former Marine who’s home to take over his family’s business. But his grandmother convinces him to hire the young mother. Nora tries to ignore her feelings as Tom’s many kindnesses begin to heal her battered heart. He has an image of the woman he’ll love, and it’s not Nora, he tells himself. It takes a bear, a former boyfriend and a high-maintenance girlfriend to finally bring these two together. (MIRA, May, 400 pp., $7.99)