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Winter in Paradise


Winter in Paradise

Elin Hilderbrand has been a longtime favorite author of mine. With great verve, she has done it again with her latest novel, WINTER IN PARADISE, the first book in a planned trilogy. She is witty and engaging, and keeps her readers intrigued with a memorable set of characters. Be prepared for a new escape with their drama, romance, a little comedy and dysfunction, which succinctly add flair and make her stories all the more satisfying. Following her previous novels, in which she writes about her beloved Nantucket, Hilderbrand now brings us to a different location --- St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Irene Steele is an Iowa City housewife and the Executive Editor of Heartland Home & Style magazine. She is married to Russ, her beloved husband of 35 years, who makes tons of money at his job at Ascension, an investment firm. They live in a beautifully restored Victorian house that Irene has been able to renovate exactly the way she dreamed of, sparing no expense for the last six years. As a result, the house is now a showpiece and her pride and joy. However, Russ is constantly traveling and rarely home, although Irene never questions his absences. Life has been good, and his job has afforded them a very nice lifestyle in Iowa.

"[Hilderbrand] again takes her readers to beautiful beaches, appetizing restaurants and other enticing venues.... As always, she delivers a story with much detail, weaving her characters and storylines expertly."

All of a sudden, though, everything changes when she receives a phone call on New Year’s Eve, which she’s celebrating without Russ. The news is tragic: he has been killed in a helicopter crash in St. John. Irene’s world is rocked to the core, and she asks herself: Why on earth was he in St. John?

Cash and Baker are Irene and Russ’ adult sons. Cash is a ski instructor who also owns and operates two outdoor supply stores in which Russ invested, but the businesses go belly-up. Baker intuitively knew that the stores were going to fail as he knows his brother well. Their sibling rivalry adds more flavor to the story; it began when the boys were in high school, and Baker slept with Cash’s then-girlfriend. Oops! Baker is married to Anna, an esteemed cardiothoracic surgeon, and they have a four-year-old son named Floyd. He was a day trader in tech stocks, but now is a stay-at-home dad who takes care of the household as Anna is always working and never has time for or pays much attention to Floyd. Adding more spice to the mix, Anna tells Baker that she wants a divorce as she’s in love with a female doctor at the hospital. Whaaaaat??!!

Irene has no idea what lies ahead for her as she makes the decision to travel to St. John, and Cash and Baker accompany her to begin unraveling the details to all the mystery that’s awaiting them. Apparently, Russ had been living a secret life, and they soon learn about his lies and deception. Here’s where the story really takes off and gets quite interesting and juicy.

Hilderbrand is known for visiting St. John, writing her novels on the island. In WINTER IN PARADISE, she again takes her readers to beautiful beaches, appetizing restaurants and other enticing venues. Her descriptions are limitless. As always, she delivers a story with much detail, weaving her characters and storylines expertly. In true Hilderbrand style, she gets her readers on board quickly and involved with her characters as she’s such a masterful writer. As I’ve mentioned in my past reviews, her imagination is endless, and her expert strategy to deliver her novels in riveting fashion makes them so delicious to read.

I’ve been reviewing Elin Hilderbrand’s work for a few years now, and she continues to amaze me. I never tire of her stories as each one has a flair of its own, and she genuinely keeps her readers interested and wanting more. Be prepared to read a fast-paced and entertaining novel for several hours, which will keep you longing for the second book in the series.

Reviewed by Vivian Payton on October 12, 2018

Winter in Paradise
by Elin Hilderbrand

  • Publication Date: September 17, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316435538
  • ISBN-13: 9780316435536