I grew up in a relatively small community in Florida, so there are times when all I want after a long week in Manhattan is some peace and quiet, not to mention a slower pace. I like to imagine that’s exactly why Netflix decided to drop all 10 episodes of the first season’s TV adaptation of Robyn Carr’s small-town romance Virgin River on a Friday in December. The story of a big-city nurse practitioner and midwife seeking solace and reinvention in a new place, Virgin River was exactly the comfort food I needed in the face of holiday madness; I gobbled that first season up in the space of a weekend. It was a pleasure to watch Melinda “Mel” Monroe adapt to living in a rural area miles from the closest Starbucks and grow ever closer to marine-turned-local-businessman Jack Sheridan. That cliffhanger, though? I could’ve done without that!
While I’m somewhat mollified by unconfirmed reports that Season 2 is currently filming, I have a yen for similar stories in the meantime. If you’re feeling the same way, I hope you enjoy my suggestions for 5 small-town romances to read after watching Virgin River Season 1.