By Cait Collins
Some authors have a unique ability to create a series of books based on a core group of characters in magical locations. The characters are something very special. They are people who have made their mistakes, dealt with the fallout, and moved on with renewed strength and purpose. In some instances, they are the people who have been given a bad hand and turned the nightmares into good productive lives. The skilled hand of the writer keeps these people from becoming cardboard characters.
Robyn Carr, Sharon Sala, Jodi Thomas, Carla Neggers, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts are among my favorite series creators. These women write women’s fiction or romance, but the style and genre are different.
For example, Robyn Carr writes contemporary stores set in small towns. Her Virgin River series is comprised of 18 novels set in Virgin River in the mountains of northern California. The people are what my grandmother would have called the salt-of-the-earth. Even the poorest lend a hand in times of crisis. Everyone pulls together. The stories move seamlessly from beginning to end. Her newer series set in Thunder Point on the Oregon coast, begins with a visitor to Virgin River who travels to Thunder Point to check up on an old friend. Again there is an easy flow from one setting to the next. I recommend both series.
Sharon Sala’s work takes a darker turn into the romantic suspense side. While there is a love story, the romance never overshadows the search for the criminal element terrorizing the town. Her stories are set in the mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky. After reading the first novel in Rebel Ridge series, the Searchers and Storm Front, I anticipated the release of the next book. Her novels are great reads.
Jodi Thomas is not only a favorite author; she is a teacher and a mentor. She’s been a friend to many writers in the Texas Panhandle. Jodi writes both historical and contemporary novels. Her historical works are based on the settling of Texas. The Whispering Mountain series was my introduction to her writing. Then she released her first mainstream novel THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY. The story of a group of women whose husbands were killed in an oil field accident was so well researched and told. Jodi keeps a tight hold on the identity of the lone survivor of the accident. This is one novel I would love to see on the big screen.
In future Outtakes we will explore Carla Neggers, Julie Garwood, and Nora Roberts. But if you are looking for good summer reads, may I recommend Robyn Carr’s Thunder Point Series, Sharon Sala’s The Searchers Series, and the Whispering Mountain Series by Jodi Thomas.