Books: Winter in Paradise, What Happens in Paradise
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Pages: 310, 319
Genre: Domestic Fiction
Who should read these books: Fans of tropical paradise, slow burn romance, and drama. Anyone going on a beach vacation.
So these are the first two books in a trilogy! I would like to thank HBG Canada for my copy in exchange for an honest review. What Happens in Paradisereleases October 8th.
These two books were my first dose of Elin Hildernbrand and I’m here to tell you I’m hooked. I love her writing style, and there’s lots of drama but not too much that I get annoyed. The characters are well developed and you can really get into their stories. I’m going to review Winter in Paradise first and then continue with the second book. There will be small spoilers for the first book in the review for the second book but I will give fair warning.
Winter in Paradise starts with the death of Irene Steele’s husband. Irene is a 50 something, upper class magazine editor with a passion for home decor. Her husband, Russ, worked for an elite financing company and travelled a lot. They have two grown sons, Baker a stay-at-home dad married to a high powered surgeon, and Cash the second child, who is very sweet but essentially a bum. Irene believes her husband is on a work trip in Florida somewhere when she gets a call from his company that he has died in a helicopter crash in the Virgin Islands. Irene doesn’t understand why he was in the Virgin Islands but she calls her sons and they go there with her to recover his body. That’s when she finds out he owned a villa there and had a mistress named Rosie, that also died in the crash. Irene’s world is shaken and her sons help her process her anger and greif in the tropical paradise. Baker and Cash meet the much younger mistresses (Rosie) friend Ayers and both develop feelings for her so that’s fun to watch. Turns out the mistress had a daughter named Maia as well. And Irene meets the handsome stepfather of the mistress named Huck.
Writing 2/2: I fell in love with Hilderbrand’s writing style immediately. It very relaxed, everything flows very nicely throughout and the dialogue is very natural. I had never picked up one of her books before because I don’t often read fiction specifically targeted at women. But KA Tucker changed that for me, so I’m very glad I gave Hilderbrand a chance. I now have a few more of her books on my list (there are a lot).
Hook 2/2: Ok the obvious hook is finding out your husband of almost 30 years had an entirely ‘other’ life in paradise. I was very quickly sucked in, needing to know all the details of this scandal.
Plot 2/2: Even though this book was full of scandal, it wasn’t overly dramatic. Which is the reason why I tend to avoid women’s fiction. Irene, despite dealing with an overwhelming amount of betrayal, stayed rather quiet and composed. She broke down the appropriate amount and then remained collected around everyone while sorting out her husbands estate.
Twist 1/2: The twist at the end was definitely predictable but it didn’t take away too much from the story. Most people that have seen pretty much any romcom could figure it out.
Feel 2/2: I was in from page 1 and I was a little shocked. I read this book very quickly and immediately picked up book. Like closed book 1, went omg, and picked up book 2. I became so invested in the characters and the story, I needed to know the truth, I needed to support Irene in this hard time, and that cliff hanger ending had me freaking out.
Overall I highly recommend this series and really hope Hilderbrand is finished writing book 3. Please feel free to send me book 3 any time.
OK STOP HERE IF YOU HAVE NOT READ BOOK 1.
SERIOUSLY SPOILER WARNING.
Ok What Happens in Paradise starts where book 1 leaves off, who the heck killed Russ and Rosie. Irene and the boys go back down to the the Virgin Islands to solve the mystery of what actually happened to her husband. Baker finalizes his divorce and takes his son to paradise to pursue Ayers. Cash goes too, to live in his father’s island mansion and work on the tour boat with Ayers. Irene, believe it or not, starts working on Huck’s fishing boat and a romance begins to blossom there. Ayers finds Rosie’s diary and we get the juicy story of Russ and Rosie from her perspective which I loved. This one ends on another cliff hanger, thank you very much Elin Hilderbrand. It’s not normal for me to think the second book in a series is better, but this one was! There was just so much more info and details that I wanted in the 1st book.
Writing 2/2: I still loved it, the flow was still there and the drama was still not over the top. Some sub characters were also further developed which I liked!
Hook 2/2: The hook was technically the ending of the 1st book but I loved the 1st book so it gets 2 points! We also learn that Rosie’s diary has been discovered and we will learn her side of the affair which I found very intriguing.
Plot 2/2: The plot centres around finding out the full details of Russ’ death. But there are a few romantic subplots and I am here for it! I loved watching the friendly/brotherly feud for Ayer’s affection and Huck and Irene navigating their odd attraction for each other.
Twist 2/2: It was a little predictable again but Hilderbrand did catch me off guard this time so full points!
Feel 2/2: I want more. I am in love with these characters, especially Huck and I need to know the end of this story. So I feel very good about these books and I recommend them for sure!