I love this cover! It speaks to me. Spending part of the harsh winter months on St. John island in the Caribbean probably speaks volumes to most people.
Irene Steele is living the good life. She’s being kept busy with her job at the magazine and renovating her Queen Anne home. Her grown sons are successful or so she thinks. And then there’s Russell, her husband, who has a very high-powered job that brings in oodles of money and has him traveling most of the time.
All seems good until the phone rings late on New Year’s night while Russell is away on business…… He’s been found dead in the water off the coast of St. John island in the Caribbean. Dead. Irene doesn’t even know where St. John is. What on earth was he doing there? But, wait. There’s more. A local woman was also found dead with Russell. And the plot thickens.
Neither of Irene’s sons is thriving. Nor are they happy. But they both come running to St. John to be with their mother and get to the bottom of this mystery. And mystery it certainly is. They discover Russell has been leading a secret life. For a long time. He owns a $15 million dollar villa hidden in the mountains on the water that none of the family had one clue of. And then they find out about Rosie Small.
I’m just coming off reading SUMMER OF 69 which I loved, Hilderbrand’s summer on Nantucket novel. And I noticed she has a new novel coming in October, the second in a series. So I picked up this copy of the first in the Paradise series, WINTER IN PARADISE, from my local library. I devoured it. Once I saw the story takes place on St. John I was all in. We are going to be visiting St. John in December. What a perfect fit.
The island of St. John is wonderfully and explicitly depicted as paradise. Hilderbrand writes in the author’s note at the beginning of this book that this is the first novel she’s written that does not take place on Nantucket. She spends a few months each spring on St. John and has come to consider it her second home. She mentions the massive damage the lovely island sustained in 2017 when Hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria blew through. And she explains that the island she writes about is the island as it was before the storm did so much damage. She also goes on to report that the island is ready for visitors and will welcome you.
Hilderbrand knows how to tell a story. She knows how to invent characters that you will care about. And she sure knows how to use her knowledge of the area to push the story to its limits. The sparkling water, the pristine sand, the amazing wildlife. And throwing in real cafes and shops makes the story more endearing. Her love of this island bursts through.
What will Irene and her sons find out about Russell and his “other” life? That is the big question. And it’s going to take three books to get us there. After reading WINTER IN PARADISE you will only have to wait a couple months until October when the second installment will arrive on the book scene: WHAT HAPPENS IN PARADISE.
I really had no intention of reading this novel at this time. I am crazy busy reading in advance of upcoming seasonal book talks. I need every moment I can get. But this novel was so darn good, and so compelling. I borrowed my copy from the library as I previously stated, and am very excited about reading the next installment which I have just downloaded onto my ipad as a review copy! Little Brown is the proud publisher of all of Elin Hilderbrand’s many novels. Thanks guys.
We have one used hardcover of WINTER IN PARADISE by Elin Hilderbrand in the bookstore. It won’t last long. Come on in and nab it now. This book will be available in trade paper sometime in September and Copperfish will be proudly displaying it.