How is everyone doing out there? Hangin’ in there? As I mentioned the other day, while we’re all hunkering down at home for the foreseeable future I’ll be doing my best to tailor our content to our collective new reality, tackling topics that that are hopefully useful or inspirational or might just bring you even the smallest amount of joy during this unique moment we’re in, and not simply all of the same things we always share here that might not apply under the circumstances. Luckily, this space is all about celebrating the casual, lived-in, loved-up, charming cottage lifestyle we’ve adored for so long, and we’re invested in that now more than ever! And it’s in that spirit that I thought it would be the perfect time to give you the skinny on yet another delightfully frivolous, endlessly fun, satisfyingly romantic, cozy-cottage-perfect book series I just wrapped up and love, and that’s actually a spinoff of the beloved Virgin River book series that I broke down at length here at the end of February that inspired the popular Netflix series of the same name. Not only did I have so much fun chatting all things Virgin River with you guys over on The Gram since that post went up, but I’m assuming that even more of you have discovered the series on Netflix in recent weeks during your time at home, and might be looking for more where that came from. As I gushed about at length in the last post, if you fell in love with the Netflix series you have 20 books in the Virgin River universe to sink your teeth into, all of which I highly recommend (you can read all about what you’ll find in that book series in that post), but if you’ve already binged the Netflix show, conquered that book series, or are just looking for another incredibly fun, funny, deliciously romantic, cleverly crafted world to escape into, the Thunder Point series by Robyn Carr is just what you need!
Ok so first things first, let’s talk nuts and bolts of this book series. The Thunder Point series is comprised of 9 books that springboard off of the storyline of an interesting character we meet and learn a little bit about in Book 19 of the Virgin River series, a hunky young veteran named Hank Cooper. Book 1 in the series, The Wanderer, focuses on Coop’s arrival to the tiny town of Thunder Point on the Oregon coast in an attempt to learn more about the somewhat mysterious/perplexing circumstances surrounding the death of his buddy and owner of the town’s favorite rundown beach bar/bait shop, Ben. Ben is another character we hear a little bit about in Book 19 of the Virgin River series, but never meet. And much like the Virgin River series the entire first book is spent not only following Cooper’s romance with the formidable and complex Coast Guard search and rescue pilot and Thunder Point resident, Sarah Dupre, but inserting himself into and finding his place in the town ecosystem and the conflict/intrigue that follows (I would argue that Book 1 has the most shocking/serious of the conflicts in all 9 Thunder Point books), getting to know the town and its (mostly) charming, friendly inhabitants, and introducing us to characters/neighbors that will become the backbone and the heartbeat of the entire series and of course, get books and love stories of their own, all set in this small coastal town. In typical Robyn Carr fashion, the setting she constructs in this tiny seaside Oregon town is just as enchanting as the love story she weaves, but there’s something a little bit moodier, a little bit darker and ever-so-slightly less wholesome about this town than the town of Virgin River, in my personal opinion. That could simply come down to the stormy, rocky coastal picture of the landscape I painted in my own mind based on Carr’s description of crashing waves and a frothing Pacific Ocean, but it could also be due to the slightly dark nature of the conflict woven into Book 1. Or the fact that she named the town Thunder Point vs. Virgin River. Much more ominous! Nevertheless, I was into it. It brought back a few memories of the moody and broody setting of the small Washington town of Forks in the Twilight saga.
Did I Like the Thunder Point Book Series?
Just like the Virgin River series I absolutely loved reading the Thunder Point series. And much like the Virgin River series, I loved some of the books in this series more than others, though I can wholeheartedly say that I thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Enjoying one book slightly more than another in the series completely comes down to personal preference and the the love story between the two central characters in each book, and not the writing. The writing is always good. Since each book focuses on two central characters and the supporting characters they’re closest to, it all comes down to whether the characters’ backstories resonate with you, if you identify with the two central characters in some way, or if theirs is the kind of love story and family/friend dynamic you can personally root for. I’d also argue that it can also come down to whether the conflict/intrigue involved in each book (and believe me, it’s involved in every one) thrills you or if it feels like an unwelcome sidebar to the love story. Entirely dependent on you!
What is The Basic Framework of All of the Thunder Point Series? What Can I Expect When Reading?
The basic framework of each book goes like this: Each book centers around a new love story between two central characters in the tiny coastal town of Thunder Point, Oregon. As mentioned, in the first book we get to enjoy the rocky love story between hunky, rough-around-the-edges newcomer, veteran and perpetual “wanderer” Hank “Coop” Cooper and tough Coast Guard helicopter pilot Sarah Dupre, a young divorcee who serves as her athletically-inclined teenaged bother’s guardian. In the first book Coop inherits his late friend Ben’s rundown beach bar, and not only do Coop and Sarah continue to be fixtures in every book that follow and kind of become the backbone of the town and the book series, but Coop’s beach bar and the surrounding beach becomes kind of a hub of the happenings in Thunder Point throughout the series. Each book falls somewhere in the 400 to 500 page range or thereabouts. Each book includes one (or one and a half) steamy sex scenes (sorry mom and dad!) that come at the end of anywhere between 100 to 200 pages of romantic buildup. Toward the end of each book, Carr typically introduces the next book’s central characters so we have some setup for what’s to come. Just like the Virgin River series, most of the central characters and supporting characters are typically in their 30s and have a pretty wide range of interests, backstories and professions. In the Virgin River series, the ties that bound the male characters were largely of the military variety and the military, specifically the marines, was a theme throughout, but in Thunder Point, though Coop is a veteran, there’s a big, always sexy variety in the central and supporting characters’ backstories, ranging from professional athletes to law enforcement to medical professionals to broad-shouldered farmers and more. Most of the female characters are very strong, independent, complex women in their late 20s or 30s, with some single mothers and a few witty, seasoned matriarchs thrown in, and we even get some really fun, clumsy, heartwarming teen characters and romances that add so much life and heart to the little coastal town Carr created. All of the books are set in Thunder Point, which is a fictional, blue collar town on the rocky Oregon coast where the beach and ocean are major hubs of activity, high school football is king and supporting your neighbor is a way of life. And, spoiler alert, every book has a happy ending, though there are a few realistically sad “real life” moments and storylines sprinkled in for good measure.
Where Can I Buy All of the Thunder Point Series Books?
I don’t even need to go through the explanation about not being able to reliably find hard copies of all of the books in the Thunder Point series in a bookstore because… none of us are going to bookstores right now. COVID-19 or no COVID-19, I’ve found that the easiest way to find and read all of the books in the Thunder Point series is to download them on your iPad, e-reader, computer, phone or whatever digital device you read on. Personally, I use iBooks on both my iPad and my iPhone to read books, which is awesome because iBooks syncs between my iPad and phone so I can pick up right where I left off on either device. Right now, you’ll mostly catch me reading on my iPad in “dark mode” which has a black background with white text. Easier on the eyes! I also love that when I’m finished with one book, I can download the next one and start reading right away and don’t have to hunt it down in store or online and wait to find out what the town of Thunder Point gets up to next. Which is exactly why diving into these series is so awesome right now – the fun is endless and it’s right at your fingertips!
Can Each of the Thunder Point Books Be Enjoyed As Standalone Stories, Out of Order?
Absolutely! Yes yes yes. I wholeheartedly believe that all books in the Thunder Point series would be just as fun when read as standalone stories as they are in a series. After all, each book focuses on two new central characters, their love story and their own unique backstories, trials and tribulations. So, if you’re not up for a 9-book saga, that’s ok! You should feel free to read the summaries of each book and decide which one(s) pique your interest. If you’re doing that, I listed my favorite books in the Thunder Point series below (I did that for the Virgin River series as well), in case you’re looking for a place to start other than simply starting with Book 1. As always, Carr does such a good job of re-introducing all of the characters in each book and providing enough essential backstory so you know what drives them and where they fit in the Thunder Point ecosystem. I feel completely confident saying that if you picked up Book 3 without ever reading Book 1 or 2 you’d not only become adequately acquainted with the Thunder Point universe without feeling lost in any way, you’d be able to enjoy it to its full extent. Hey, these are contemporary romance novels and as such, are by design lighthearted (for the most part), fun, funny and not meant make your brain hurt. Ya know?
So What Were My Favorite of the 9 Thunder Point Series Books?
A New Hope
Are These Thunder Point Series Just Gratuitous “Romance Novels”?
Though I think the Thunder Point books technically might fall into the contemporary romance novel category and all of the books certainly focus on the love story between our two central characters, which is, of course, my favorite part of of these books, just like the Virgin River books they’re not at all what, as a relative “romance novel” newbie, I thought was typical of a romance novel. And just like the Virgin River books, the Thunder point books are smart, funny, fun, suspenseful and pretty realistically desirous, with relationships and characters that for the most part feel very rooted in reality and relatably complex. It’s not really a spoiler to tell you that all of these books end well because you’ll figure that out for yourself very quickly (and happily), but for me the Thunder Point books just kind of feel like plain, good old fashioned fiction, with a heartbeat and just the right amount of intrigue. There are some seriously wild twists, turns and backstories in these books that were just as fun of a ride as the romantic storylines. These aren’t, by any means, overly gratuitous, super steamy, completely ridiculous storylines (well, for the most part – it is fiction after all!), which is what I think I probably unfairly assumed the romance genre was all about. I officially stand corrected!
What Did I love Most About the Thunder Point Series Books?
What I loved most about the Thunder Point books in particular was that the female characters Carr wrote were even more complex, even more interesting, even more varied and were met with even more realistic challenges than they were in the Virgin River books, which is saying a lot because I felt that throughout that series, too. There were a lot of dynamic, tough-as-nails broads to love in the Virgin River books. In my opinion, the Thunder Point books just illuminated not only how accurately Carr writes women and how astute her observations are about complexities of women’s lives and personalities, but that these are absolutely, 100% books written for women, by a woman. In one interview Carr said that both when she reads and writes she wants real women’s issues, real humor and real teeth in the story, and the fact that she repeatedly achieves that with every single book she writes is what made me fall in love with her writing and what keeps me coming back for more. She said that she found a home in this genre, and I think I’ve found a home in not only the female characters she constructs, but the charming, relatable communities she so cleverly creates and the very realistic relationships she weaves, both of the neighborly and romantic variety, within that community. It just feels like she’s getting women’s stories right, in all their complexities, at all ages and in all the walks of life, and that’s so much fun to get lost in, especially now! Almost every time she introduces a new female character, I think to myself, “Oooohhh. I like this chick”.”
The Thunder Point Series Books in Chronological Order
Book # 1: The Wanderer
Book # 2: The Newcomer
Book # 3: The Hero
Book # 4: The Chance
Book # 5: The Promise
Book # 6: The Homecoming
Book # 7: One Wish
Book # 8: A New Hope
Book # 9: Wildest Dreams
Now I’m on to Robyn Carr’s Sullivan’s Crossing series, which I think my mother-in-law dove into while I was still reading the Thunder Point books! I’m currently on Book 5 of that series, The Country Guesthouse (the last book in the series), and have loved the Sullivan’s Crossing world and cast of characters just as much as the Virgin River and Thunder Point worlds, so will definitely be doing a breakdown of that series here for you guys. And bonus, word on the street is that the Sullivan’s Crossing books have been optioned for TV, which would be so fun! I’d love to see that world come to life on the small screen, so that’s something to look forward to if it materializes!