You likely already know that these books have inspired a hit Netflix show, but you might not know the best way to read the Virgin River books in order.
Whether you’re looking for more Virgin River drama as you await the next season, or are gearing up for a reread of the popular series, this article will be your ultimate guide on how to read the Virgin River books in order.
If you enjoy contemporary small-town romances, you will love this series by Robyn Carr and the drama that unfolds across each book. The Virgin River series features strong characters, often in an unlikely partnership. Throughout the course of the series love ultimately prevails.
About the Virgin River Series
According to Robyn Carr’s website the Virgin River series features characters who prioritize relationships with each other over individual gain, as well as neighbors committed to one another and coming together in times of need. In addition, the books feature steamy romance scenes to the delight of fans.
All the books take place in the fictional town of Virgin River, California, which has a population of 600. The titular first book, Virgin River, was published in 2007 and 20 more books have followed.
As is often the case with a long-spanning romance series, each book follows a new romantic interest.
During each book these characters face realistic issues such as loss, grief, mental health struggles, and parenthood. Despite the challenges these characters face, Virgin River has a magical tendency for love and happiness to prevail.
Who is Robyn Carr?
Robyn Carr is the mastermind behind the series which has spanned more than 20 books, multiple anthologies, and inspired a hit Netflix TV show.
Carr began writing in the 1970s as the young mother of two children. As one might expect with her romances, Carr considers propriety to be the most overrated virtue.
While Carr has multiple series and standalones to her name, Virgin River is arguably her most popular and absolutely her longest series.
The Virgin River books have sold more than 13 million copies, and collectively all of Carr’s books have sold more than 27 million copies. As well, Carr’s books have been translated into 19 languages in 30 countries.
She first began reading romance while on a modified bedrest during pregnancy and says she was quickly hooked. Her debut novel was the historical standalone romance Chelynne, published in 1978, but her first book on the New York Times bestseller list didn’t come until 30 years later.
That book was A Virgin River Christmas in 2008. Another Virgin River title, Bring Me Home for Christmas, was a #1 New York Times bestseller in 2011 as well as a #1 bestseller on the Publishers Weekly and Barnes and Noble lists.
Since 2008 Carr’s books have spent a collective 250 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
Carr was awarded the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016. She says she has accomplished her dream to be writing for more than 40 years now and writes one standalone women’s fiction and one contemporary romance each year. Carr currently resides in Las Vegas.
Virgin River Books in Order
Despite there being more than 20 books in the series, reading the Virgin River books in order is not very complicated. That’s because the publication order of the books is the recommended reading order.
While each book in the series features a new protagonist and a new love story, there are recurring characters throughout the series. As well, many of the characters are connected to one another. That’s not very surprising when you remember that the population of the fictional Virgin River is only 600.
So while you can read these books in any order since the perspective changes, your reading experience will be heightened if you read the Virgin River books in order of publication.
This is the way so many fans originally read the series, and also will ensure you’re capturing all the Easter eggs and character reappearances in the right order.
As well, if you were first a fan of the TV show adaptation, then reading the Virgin River books in publication order will make for the best transition from show to books. This is because the first book features the perspective of Melinda Monroe, or Mel, as she first moves to Virgin River.
- Virgin River (2007)
- Shelter Mountain (2007)
- Whispering Rock (2007)
- A Virgin River Christmas (2008)
- Second Chance Pass (2009)
- Temptation Ridge (2009)
- Paradise Valley (2009)
Under the Christmas Tree (2009) (Short Story)
- Forbidden Falls (2009)
- Angel’s Peak (2010)
- Moonlight Road (2010)
Midnight Confessions (2010) (Short Story)
- Promise Canyon (2010)
- Wild Man Creek (2011)
- Harvest Moon (2011)
- Bring Me Home for Christmas (2011)
- Hidden Summit (2011)
- Redwood Bend (2012)
- Sunrise Point (2012)
- My Kind of Christmas (2012)
- Return to Virgin River (2020)
- Holidays in Virgin River (2022)
Virgin River Books in Order: Anthologies
In addition to the main books, Robyn Carr has also written multiple stories throughout the years that take place in the beloved Virgin River. Many of these take place during the holiday season. It is important to note that the same stories may feature in multiple anthologies or now be available as standalones.
- That Holiday Feeling (2009)
- Midnight Kiss (2010)
- ‘Tis The Season (2014)
- Home to You (2017)
- All I Want for Christmas (2018)
About the Virgin River Adaptation
As previously mentioned, the Virgin River series has a popular Netflix adaptation. The show premiered in 2019 and stars Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe and Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan.
There are four full seasons available to stream with the remaining episodes of the fifth season coming soon and a sixth season already confirmed. The first ten episodes of season five dropped on September 7, 2023 and ended with a big cliff-hanger as a teaser for the final two episodes.
Those two episodes will be holiday-themed and premiere on November 30, 2023. They’re being labelled as season five, part two by the digital streaming service.
With the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes for fair compensation, improved working conditions, and more, there has been no movement or announcement regarding the sixth season yet. However, Netflix announced the renewal back in May 2023, long before the latest season hit air.
The showrunner Sue Tenney has said that there are some huge differences between the Netflix show and the books in terms of storylines and characters, as there are with many adaptations. However, the show is incredibly popular. In addition to early renewals, Netflix also increased the number of episodes per season from 10 to 12 after the third season.
A Summary of the Virgin River Books in Order
But now let’s learn a little bit more about the Virgin River books in order. We’ve put together summaries for the first ten books in the series, so you can learn a little bit more about the drama and romance that takes place in the small little town of Virgin River.
1. Virgin River
Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against a backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.
When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad, she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves.
But her high hopes come crashing down within an hour of arriving. The cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous, and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing that moving to Virgin River is a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.
But a tiny baby abandoned on a front porch changes her plans…and former marine Jack Sheridan cements them into place.
2. Shelter Mountain
John “Preacher” Middleton is about to close the bar when a young woman and her three-year-old son come in out of a wet October night. A marine who has seen his share of pain, Preacher knows a crisis when he sees one — bruises cover the woman.
He wants to protect them. He also wants to punish whoever did this to her. But he knows immediately that this inclination to protect is something much more.
Paige Lassiter has stirred up emotions in this gentle giant of a man — emotions that he has never allowed himself to feel.
But when Paige’s ex-husband turns up in Virgin River, Preacher knows his own future hangs in the balance. And if there’s one thing the marines’ motto of Semper Fi — always faithful — has taught Preacher, it’s that some things are worth fighting for.
3. Whispering Rock
A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time to settle down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found — a woman who can tie up his heart forever.
He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she’s got some fears she can’t escape — but now she has someone who will show her just what it means to trust again.
Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong, and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him — her heart, and with it, a new beginning.
4. A Virgin River Christmas
Last Christmas Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband, Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.
Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago. But then he disappeared as soon as their unit arrived stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.
Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she doesn’t scare so easily. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.
Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.
5. Second Chance Pass
In the space of a few months Vanessa buried her husband, Matt, and gave birth to their son. Her heart broke as it also filled with a whole new kind of love. But the one man she longs to share this love with now acts as if she doesn’t exist.
Paul Haggerty lives by the marine motto: Semper Fi. Ever faithful to his best friend, he’s done right by Matt’s widow as best he can. Especially considering he’s been secretly in love with her for years. Now, just as he’s about to make his move, another woman has staked her claim on him — a claim that will be tough to escape.
With courage, humility, and not a little meddling from the good folks of Virgin River, Vanni and Paul might just get a second chance to have the love they both desire and deserve.
6. Temptation Ridge
At twenty-five, after five years as her mother’s caregiver, it’s time for Shelby to experience freedom and adventure. Time for travel, college, and romance. But when she visits Virgin River, she runs into Luke Riordan, decidedly not whom she has in mind.
A handsome Blackhawk pilot, Luke exited the army after twenty years, four wars, and having been shot out of the sky three times. At thirty-eight he’s tough and jaded. His major was in one-night stands, with a minor in commitment avoidance.
Technically, these two are all wrong for one another. But sometimes what you want and what you need are two different things…two very good things.
7. Paradise Valley
Marine corporal Rick Sudder is home early from Iraq — his tour ended abruptly on the battlefield. The carefree boy is gone, replaced by a man who believes his future is as bleak as his mirror image. But can the passion and commitment of a young woman who has never given up on him mend his broken body and shattered heart?
As the people of Virgin River rally around Rick, another recent arrival tests the tightly knit mountain town’s famous welcoming spirit.
Dan Brady has a questionable past, and he’s looking for a place to start over. He’d like it to be Virgin River…if he can find a way in. But he never expects to find it in the arms of a woman who was as much an outcast as himself.
For a favorite son returned from war and an outsider looking for a home, Virgin River offers them a chance to make peace with the men they once were…and to find the dreams they thought they’d lost.
8. Under the Christmas Tree
With snow falling over the redwood forests, secluded Virgin River is the ideal place to spend the holidays. Each year, the close-knit community gathers in the town square to decorate and light a massive tree. Carols are sung, hot chocolate is shared — and this time a surprise is left under the Christmas tree!
When the folks of the town discover a box of adorable puppies abandoned under the tree, they call on local vet Nathaniel Jensen for help. The puppies are the talk of Virgin River. Yet it’s Nate’s budding romance with Annie McCarty that really has tongues — and tails — wagging.
Under the Christmas Tree was originally published in 2009 within the That Holiday Feeling anthology, and then again in the 2014 ‘Tis the Season anthology. It was also published in 2014 for the first time as a standalone novel.
9. Forbidden Falls
Reverend Noah Kincaid moved to Virgin River to re-open an abandoned church he bought on eBay. Like Noah, the place is a little empty inside and needs some loving care.
The young widower arrives ready to roll up his sleeves and build a place of worship and welcome. But he needs some help, and the Lord works in mysterious ways…
With her tight shirts and short skirts, “Pastor’s assistant” is not a phrase that springs to mind when Noah meets brassy, beautiful Alicia Baldwin. The former exotic dancer needs a respectable job so she can regain custody of her children. And Noah can’t help but admire her spunk and motherly determination.
The pastor and the stripper: An unlikely team to revitalize a church, much less build a future. The couple has so many differences. But in Virgin River anything is possible, and happiness is never out of the question.
10. Angel’s Peak
Four years ago, Air Force sweethearts Franci Duncan and Sean Riordan reached an impasse. She wanted marriage and a family, he didn’t. But a chance meeting proves that the bitter breakup hasn’t cooled their sizzling chemistry.
Sean has settled down in spite of himself. He’s not the cocky young fighter pilot he was when Franci left, and he wants them to try again. After all, they have a history…but that’s not all they share.
Franci’s secret reason for walking away when Sean refused to commit is now three and a half: A red-headed cherub named Rosie who shares her daddy’s emerald-green eyes. Sean is stunned — and furious with Franci for the deception.
News travels fast in Virgin River, and soon the whole town is taking sides. Rebuilding their trust could take a small miracle — and the kind of love that can move mountains.
Final Thoughts on Virgin River Books in Order
There you have all of the Virgin River books in order and the recommended reading order for the series. If you’re anxiously anticipating the fourth season of the TV show, the Virgin River book series will provide you with plenty of reading material as you wait. Otherwise, this article can act as a helpful guide for a reread.