There are few things I vividly remember about Christmas 2019, but one thing in particular really stands out: watching the new Netflix show, Virgin River. It was the perfect quiet drama for those cold winter nights. I watched it while wrapping presents, decorating the tree, and drinking hot chocolate. While not inherently Christmas themed, it has that cozy feeling that makes it perfect for the holidays.
Virgin River follows recently widowed Nurse Practitioner, Mel Monroe who picks up her entire life and moves from Los Angeles to rural Virgin River, California. Virgin River isn’t exactly what Mel bargained for. The cabin she was promised is in shambles, and the doctor she was hired to work for wants nothing to do with her. The one thing keeping her in Virgin River is her relationship with local bar owner and former Marine, Jack.
I love the quirky town of Virgin River and all the amazing characters it introduced. It’s easy to get attached to the characters and their individual storylines.
This year I was so excited when the series returned for a second season! I watched every episode the weekend after Thanksgiving. When I finished all ten episodes I was devastated, and at a loss for what to do with myself. That’s why I created this list. It features ten books with the same sort of cozy rural vibe as Virgin River, for when you’ve finished every episode and need something new to entertain you until season three is released (fingers crossed!)
Six years ago, Camden Daniels returned from war to the small town of Alba, Colorado without his little brother. He left when no one in town would forgive him for his death, especially their father. But when he receives a desperate call from his father he makes the painful decision to return home. But waiting in Alba is not just his family and a host of painful secrets, but the love of his life, Willow.
Like Virgin River, Great and Terrible Things is about a veteran and a love story set in a small town.
The only thing keeping heartbroken Constance afloat is the dog rescue she runs with her sister, Sunny. Rhett runs a gym as a refuge for his former-military brothers. When Constance joins Rhett’s gym, he’s unprepared for her way of breaking through the walls he’s put up. When their dog rescue is threatened they must all band together to save it.
Abigail Jenson is done with all things hockey after her NHL-star husband cheats on her. Leaving it all behind she decides to start over in her hometown of Glenwood Falls, Colorado. She has no desire to have anything to do with the sport, until her daughter tries out for the middle school hockey team. Now Abby has no choice to face her fears, even if that means spending time with Coach Jackson.
Neurosurgeon Maggie Sullivan needs a break from her high-pressure life so she heads to Sullivan’s Crossing, Colorado to help her father with their family business running a charming general store known as the Crossing. When Maggie’s world is rocked and she has to take responsibility for the Crossing, hiker Cal Jones steps in to help. Cal and Maggie both struggle with the overwhelming loss and loneliness, but just maybe they can find their way back to happiness together.
When an unexpected death leaves Beyah with nowhere to go, she turns to her last resort, spending the summer on a Texas peninsula with a father she barely knows. Her plan to keep her head down and let the summer slip by is thrown into upheaval when she meets her new neighbor Samson. On the surface Beyah and Samson have nothing in common. He comes from a world of wealth of privilege in direct contrast to her life of poverty and neglect. But with an undeniable connection, they find themselves drawn to each other.
The Simple Wild follows Calla, a lost twenty-something living in Toronto. When she finds out her estranged father Wren is sick, Calla flies to Alaska to see him. Life in Alaska is radically different from her life in Toronto, and Calla struggles to adjust. She meets Jonah, one of the bush pilot’s for her father’s company. Jonah would like nothing more than to take Calla the city girl back where she belongs, and while he’s probably right, Calla wants to prove him wrong. As the two get to know each other, they form an unexpected bond, and their bickering turns into so much more.
When Nina Colgan’s librarian job in the city is threatened, she moves to a sleepy village miles away in rural Scotland looking for a fresh start. Having always wanted to own a bookshop, she buys an old van and transforms it into a mobile bookshop, selling books to the literary-deprived village. Along the way she meets many a charming villager and finds love along the way.
The most recent release in the Virgin River series, Return to Virgin River follows Kaylee Sloan, a successful author grieving over the death of her mother. Determined to avoid the holiday season and focus on writing she rents a cabin in Virgin River. In Virgin River Kaylee’s world expands in ways she never imagined possible when she rescues a kitten and dog with a litter of puppies. And then there’s the dog trainer who steps in to help her.
The full list is also available on Bookshop.org
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