Dr. Villard is a doctor at the hospital where Mortenson works as he's just starting to get passionate about building a school in Korphe. She's totally his type: a climber who doesn't wear makeup (5.12). He's smitten with her, but too nervous to do anything about it. Luckily for him, eventually she asks him out (and then he pays for the date—because when she invites, you pay…). She spends time with Mortenson camping and sleeping in his Buick, and he becomes part of her family, hanging out with her two daughters.
However, their love isn't meant to be. Marina breaks up with Mortenson because he spends too much time in Pakistan and never talks about their relationship. "You never said anything about us" (9.25), she says of the letters he sends her. She serves as a contrast to Tara, the woman Mortenson marries, because Tara gives Mortenson more freedom to go to Pakistan for months at a time to work on his mission.