Why have I combined all three books of Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise series into one review? Because friends don’t let friends read the Paradise trilogy out of order!
Set in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, this trilogy is fast-paced and full of original, authentic characters. The story includes just the right doses of romance, comedy, and mystery. It’s outlandish enough to make us laugh, and deep enough to make us cry.
In book one, Winter In Paradise, the series’ heroine Irene Steele’s idyllic life is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call announcing that her husband has died on St. John island. Irene flies from her home in suburban Iowa to the Caribbean—only to make another shocking discovery, that her husband had a secret second family.
In book one, readers join other characters to begin piecing together what happened to Irene’s husband Russ. Each chapter changes to a different point of view as characters report on what’s happening.
Because the books are written in present tense, the reader feels right in the middle of the unfolding action.
(And we’re privy to some pretty raw inner thoughts. Two of the main characters, Irene’s sons Cash and Baker, head for St. John feeling marginally annoyed with each other. When the full onslaught of stress from their difficult family situation sinks in, the competitive brothers naturally take out their frustration on each other.)
The tension in this story never lets up. In fact, one of the biggest bombshells drops on the final page—which means, of course, that we’ll reach for book two right away.
In book two, Troubles in Paradise, Irene, Cash, and Baker are determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life, and death, of the man they thought they knew, and readers finally learn what really happened on the day Russ Steele’s helicopter crashed. The rocky romantic relationships that tried to bloom in book one get more complicated. A difficult person from Irene’s past becomes her trusted go-to counsel. A mysterious character lurks around the island. And a hurricane threatens St. John.
Readers see the family pulling together and learning to trust each other, and the next generation begins to take shape.
But, just like book one, book two ends with a cliff-hanger.
In book three, What Happens In Paradise, readers gain access to what’s written in the diaries of a key character and, along with the other characters, find closure. Readers also get to see our heroine Irene Steele becoming even stronger and more resilient.
Yes, there is a bit of language scattered throughout the series. A couple of sex scenes move quickly. But I enjoyed every page of this series. The setting is unforgettable. The characters feel like they could be my friends. The story entertains, educates, and inspires.
And I can’t wait to hear what you think of this special trilogy!
Here with you,