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Virgin River Doesn't Follow The Books (And That's A Good Thing)

There are some major differences between the "Virgin River" books and the show, a fact that's not lost on fans. The Netflix series dedicates a good portion of the narrative to chronicling the ups and downs of Mel Monroe (Alexandra Breckenridge) and Jack Sheridan's (Martin Henderson) romance, but the book series by Robyn Carr takes another approach to the characters. Similar to the "Bridgerton" book series, each "Virgin River" novel focuses on a new couple. Mel and Jack's love story is at the center of the first book, but then they fade into the background as subsequent novels move on to other pairings. 

It might be more accurate to say that the show is inspired by Carr's books, rather than deeming the "Virgin River" series a true adaptation. "The only resemblance is the vibes, other than that it's totally different," wrote Reddit user u/PassiveAshA when comparing the two. Although the show has changed fundamental aspects of the books, fans of the franchise don't necessarily mind. "I need and have both in my life. They're different but I love all of it," said Reddit user u/sunny4dayz93.

Typically, it's hard for people to see their favorite characters drastically altered for a book-to-screen adaptation, but this point of view actually makes a lot of sense. Deviating from the plot of the books allows the show to develop characters in new ways, a factor that leaves room for the minds behind the series to surprise longtime fans who think they already know what to expect.

Netflix is putting its own spin on the Virgin River characters

Even die-hard fans of Robyn Carr's work have to admit that it would be boring to watch the show if it followed the books exactly. The most compelling love stories take a few seasons to develop, so it would have been disappointing to see all that juicy tension between Mel and Jack resolved within one season. Since Netflix has decided to develop its own interpretations of these characters, fans of the franchise get to enjoy two versions of the story. The series has expanded on the world of "Virgin River" in new ways, and some fans prefer the television adaptation.

"I'm a reader myself and I read the first couple books after I watched the first couple seasons. I'm a huge fan of the tv series and did not love the books. The books were kind of ruining the show for me lol. It's usually the show/movie that ruins the books!! They just weren't for me," said Reddit user u/Unonuon. Other viewers have similarly chosen to ignore what happens in the books. "I tried reading the first book and didn't care for the writing at all. Also it does not shy away from sex scenes, it really wasn't my thing reading stuff like that," commented Reddit user u/Qrusher14242.

There are still plenty of characters from the books who have yet to make an appearance in the series, so the story has room to grow moving forward into Season 5.