Best darn romance series I’ve ever known

Virgin River by Robyn Carr
Confession: Am completely hooked on romance audiobooks. No apologies. No Apologies!

After hearing a couple of people rave about the Virgin River series, I decided to give it a whirl. And since I’m more adventurous with audiobooks than with (printed) books, I checked out the audiobook of the first book in the series.
And then I fell completely in love with this book while commuting and did not want to leave my car. (For all you know, I may still be there now. I’m not telling.) Here’s why I’ve taken up habitation in my Honda…
First: There’s a tough guy as the romantic lead. Simply cannot resist.
Second: The female main character, Melinda, is a strong woman, so that’s all good.
Mel, a terribly young widow, takes a nurse practitioner job in the tiny town of Virgin River in an attempt to hit the re-set button on her life, and upon arrival, realizes she’s made a terrible mistake.
Or has she…?
In this small town, there is a bar/restaurant owned by a former Marine named Jack, who is nothing but hot. And kind. And good. And… why doesn’t Mel see this?!
Instead, Mel falls in love with the town and its people before she falls in love with the hot guy, and that seems OK, really.
Here’s the fascinating thing about this book: The pacing here feels pleasant, keeping pace with life in this small town and with the slowly developing relationship between Mel and Jack—yet there’s a lot going on in that town (some of it dramatic), which keeps the story moving right along.
The characters, including the secondary characters, are well-drawn and fairly realistic (though perhaps a little bit too-good-to-be-true except for those who are villainous; but I’m not complaining about that).
The result is a story that is pure comfort.
Therese Plummer’s narration of the audiobook is superb, to the point that when I read book 4 of the series (dear heaven, a Christmas-themed title) in actual book form, I was sort of let down. Of course, maybe that was just my reaction to the Christmas-y-ness of the thing. I am generally allergic to all such. Chalk one up for Robyn Carr for enticing me into reading such a thing.

The good news for me is that Virgin River is the first book in a growing series, and–having continued now with books 2 through 4, with more yet to read (listen to) –I think this series is romance novel perfection.