‘Virgin River’: Fans of the Show Think It’s Best to Ignore the Books

Netflix’s Virgin River is one of the most-watched shows on the streaming platform. The romantic drama series stems from Robyn Carr’s book series of the same name. Virgin River follows Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) a nurse from Los Angeles who relocates to the small town of Virgin River for a chance at a new life.

Typically, there is a war between fans of the books and fans of the TV or movie adaptation. However, this time around, Virgin River fans appear to all be in agreement. It seems that they’ve all come to a consensus that to enjoy the Netflix show, you must ignore the Virgin River books.

Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe sitting at a grave site in 'Virgin River'
Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe in ‘Virgin River’ | Netflix

Characters from Robyn Carr’s books are missing from Netflix’s ‘Virgin River’

Though fans of Carr’s best-selling book series were thrilled when they learned of the Netflix TV show, many were stunned by the absence of so many of their favorite characters on screen. As we know, its always a challenge to adapt a book to the big or small-screen, but Virgin River showrunner Sue Tenney and the producers paired down the story extensively for Netflix.

Tenney revealed to TV Line that she and the producers handpicked certain characters for the writers to showcase. As a result, Charmaine Roberts (Lauren Hammersley), Jack’s pregnant ex-girlfriend who is barely mentioned in the books has become a central character on the show. Also, several other important characters in the books haven’t been seen at all.

‘Virgin River’ TV show fans think it’s best to ignore the books

While most fans of book-to-TV adaptations always boast that the books should be read before viewing the show, Virgin River fans think it might be best to ignore Carr’s books altogether. Apparently, diving right into the Netflix series will give fans the best experience. One fan thought the books were far too cheesy. “I tried to read the first one after season 1 because it was free on Prime, and I stopped after the first chapter because the writing was poor and there were a lot of tropes about the “inner city” crammed into the few paragraphs I read that turned me off,” they shared on Reddit.

Another fan also said the quality of the books left a lot to be desired. “They’re mediocre at best,” they shared. Yet another Redditor explained that the differences in the books and on the show were far too jarring. “Shows and movies often vary drastically and people get disappointed,” they explained. “If you expect it to be like the books you’ll always be disappointed.”


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How to read Robyn Carr’s ‘Virgin River’ books in order?

If you still want to read Carr’s books, then you should certainly read them in order. In total, the series is comprised of 21 books. They are:

  1. Virgin River
  2. Shelter Mountain
  3. Whispering Rock
  4. A Virgin River Christmas
  5. Second Chance Pass
  6. Temptation Ridge
  7. Paradise Valley
  8. Under the Christmas Tree: A Holiday Romance Novel
  9. Forbidden Falls
  10. Angel’s Peak
  11. Moonlight Road
  12. Midnight Confessions
  13. Promise Canyon
  14. Wild Man Creek
  15. Harvest Moon
  16. Bring Me Home for Christmas
  17. Hidden Summit
  18. Redwood Bend
  19. Sunrise Point
  20. My Kind of Christmas
  21. Return to Virgin River

However, as fans have suggested, from the toned-down sex scenes to the absent characters and the focus on Charmaine, don’t expect the books to be anything like what you’re used to seeing on the Netflix show.