How to read the Virgin River books in order

Preacher in Virgin RiverNetflix

If you’re a lover of Virgin River on Netflix and you’re yet to check out the books upon which the series is based, here’s how to read the Virgin River books in order.

Like most good Netflix original series, Virgin River is based on a series of books written by Robyn Carr. Originally released in 2007, the book series has continued for well over a decade, with the most recent of the bunch published in 2022.

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Both Virgin River books and the series follow the life of Melinda “Mel” Monroe as she answers an ad to work as a midwife and nurse practitioner in a remote town in Northern California. Looking for a fresh start, she soon realizes that drama is never too far away.

With Season 5 now available to watch on Netflix, here’s how to read the Virgin River books in order.

How many Virgin River books are there?

There are currently 21 books in the Virgin River series, along with 5 extra book series anthologies.

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On top of this, Carr also released a recipe book in 2022, lifting meals used in the original book series for fans to make themselves.

Each can be defined as contemporary romance, coming together to make one standalone story. Though there are lots of familiar faces from the TV series, there are a few different characters to spot along the way.

In fact, the book series is so popular that it has appeared on Harper Collins’ 200 Iconic Books Over 200 Years list.

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Virgin River books in release order

The release order and chronological order for the Virgin River books are one and the same, meaning the timeline is incredibly easy for fans to follow.

That order looks something like this:

  • Virgin River
  • Shelter Mountain
  • Whispering Rock
  • A Virgin River Christmas
  • Second Chance Pass
  • Temptation Ridge
  • Paradise Valley
  • Under the Christmas Tree
  • Forbidden Falls
  • Angel’s Peak
  • Moonlight Road
  • Midnight Confessions
  • Promise Canyon
  • Wild Man Creek
  • Harvest Moon
  • Bring Me Home for Christmas
  • Hidden Summit
  • Redwood Bend
  • Sunrise Point
  • My Kind of Christmas
  • Return to Virgin River

Virgin River

Virgin River bookAmazon/HarperCollins

This is where the Virgin River story officially begins. Mel sees the midwife ad for the town of Virgin River and decides to up sticks and leave everything she knows behind. Escaping from her former life, she starts to refind herself in her new setting – even if it’s a bit more rustic than she was expecting.

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Shelter Mountain

Shelter Mountain bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Not only are Mel and Jack now intertwined, but Shelter Mountain hones in on John “Preacher” Middleton. He meets Paige and her young son, who are on the run from Paige’s abusive ex-husband. Immediately, Preacher feels a need to protect them both, bringing some deep emotions to the surface.

Whispering Rock

Whispering Rock bookAmazon/HarperCollins

The action moves over to the new prosecutor in town, Brie Sheridan. She’s also looking to escape after having a brush with a criminal that almost cost her her life. She meets Mike along the way, a police officer who tries to help Brie find her new beginning.

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A Virgin River Christmas

A Virgin River Christmas bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Christmas and Virgin River are essentially 2 peas in a pod. Marcie comes to the town for a visit, looking for a guy who helped her marriage to her husband. When she tracks him down, she finds his life has taken a turn for the worse and tries to help him.

Second Chance Pass

Second Chance Pass bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Vanessa is back in town – only this time, she’s sporting a broken heart. She takes up the challenge of finding her place in the tight-knit community, rekindling connections along the way.

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Temptation Ridge

Temptation Ridge bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Shelby is looking for her dream guy, complete with a detailed checklist. She ends up meeting the opposite of her dream in Luke, but the pair soon find that life has more in store for them.

Paradise Valley

Paradise Valley bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Rick has returned from a tour with the Marines in Iraq as a very different person from how he left Virgin River. He meets Dan Brady, who is searching for a newfound peace all his own.

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Under The Christmas Tree

Under The Christmas Tree bookAmazon/HarperCollins

The town has a present left under its tree in the form of a box of puppies. The local vet is called to help, which soon shows off his budding romantic relationship.

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Forbidden Falls

Forbidden Falls bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Revered Noah is the next newcomer to arrive in town, looking to reopen an abandoned church. He assists a former exotic dancer while the connection deepens during their time together.

Angel’s Peak

Angel's peak bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Over three years after their nasty breakup, Franci and Sean are reunited. It’s quickly clear that their chemistry never went away, but Sean soon finds out that Franci left because she was pregnant with his baby.

Moonlight Road

Moonlight Road bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Erin is taking some time out for herself at a nearby cabin after making sure her younger siblings are settled in their lives. In true Virgin River style, she soon meets a handsome doctor in the local woods.

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Midnight Confessions

Midnight confessions bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Everyone is in Jack’s Bar on New Year’s Eve, but Sunny doesn’t want to be there after getting dumped at the altar. While there, she soon meets Drew, who’s getting over a breakup of his own.

Promise Canyon

Promise Canyon bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Clay is the town’s new vet assistant, who is getting back in touch with his Navajo roots. Lily isn’t a fan of his arrival, thinking his act is all a front – but actually finds it really attractive.

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Wild Man Creek

Wild Man Creek bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Colin is looking to heal up in Virgin River after being caught up in a terrifying helicopter crash. He soon meets Jillian, who is trying to fix up a nearby Victorian house. As expected, sparks soon fly between the two.

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Jillian’s sister Kelly doesn’t arrive too long after her, suffering from such bad burnout that she’s recently collapsed at work. She catches the eye of Lief, who has just moved to Virgin River with his overly rebellious stepdaughter.

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Bring Me Home For Christmas

Bring Me Home for Christmas bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Becca is looking to get over ex-flame Denny during the holiday break – except Denny says otherwise. After an accident, he’s left stuck with Becca as the two try to figure out where they stand.

Hidden Summit

Hidden Summit bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Leslie is the latest newcomer to Virgin River, trying to escape her ex-husband and his new wife. Along the way, she meets Conner, who is somehow in even worse shape than Leslie.

Redwood Bend

Redwood Bend bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Katie gets stuck on the side of a road with a flat tire while caring for her two sons. However, her road trip nightmare soon turns into a dream when she meets a couple of attractive motorbikers.

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Sunrise Point

Sunrise Point bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Nora is desperate to provide for her two daughters and ends up working at the local harvest orchard. Her new boss Tom is back from time with the Marines and is instantly attracted to Nora, though the pair want very different things.

My Kind Of Christmas

My Kind of Christmas bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Unlike the tough reputation of his brothers, Patrick is very sweet and easy-going. When Angie comes to spend the holidays at Virgin River with Jack, Patrick finds a connection with her.

Return to Virgin River

Return to Virgin River bookAmazon/HarperCollins

Setting off to a Virgin River cabin to be free of distractions, writer Kaylee finds the ultimate one in the form of the community. They instantly embrace her, inspiring Kaylee’s writing anew.

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Virgin River book series anthologies

On top of the main series, Virgin River also had these 5 separate anthologies. Though they add to the worldbuilding, they aren’t essential reading, or can equally be read at any given time.

  • That Holiday Feeling (with Debbie Macomber and Sherryl Woods)
  • ‘Tis the Season
  • Home for You (with Brenda Novak)
  • All I Want for Christmas
  • Holidays in Virgin River

Virgin River Seasons 1-5 Part 1 are available to stream on Netflix now. You can check out more of our Virgin River coverage in the links below: 

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