For the last few years, John "Preacher" Middleton has helped his friend Jack to run a grill & bar in the little Californian town of Virgin River. One rainy night, John was closing up the bar when a woman came in carrying her son and looking like she could use a break. Usually, John is the type who keeps out of everyone's business but when he realizes that the woman, Paige, is probably running from an abusive relationship, he makes it his personal business to help her.
Paige is indeed running from an abusive husband, her original plan was to run off and assume a different identity, hoping her husband wouldn't find her ever again. But, once in Virgin River and with John's help, she decides to stay and fight, get a divorce and make a home for herself and her son in this out of the way town that has welcomed them both.
So, I really liked John and Paige's story. Paige has her issues and is understandably jumpy and insecure at the beginning but when her feelings toward John begin to emerge, she has gained enough confidence in herself to follow her heart. Chris, her son, was nice without being overwhelming as sometimes kids-in-books can get. And John was such a nice, good guy.
My problem with these books is that it's not only the main story, it's the whole town's saga and you spend only about half the time with the main couple. I'm pro secondary story lines, but they have to be that, secondary, with this book I felt like I wasn't sure whose story was it, John and Paige's or the whole town's (I'm not spoiling secondary plots). And there are just so many characters! It gets confusing after a while because your attention is so divided.