Title: Winter in Paradise
Series: Paradise #1
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Publisher: October 9, 2018
Release date: Little, Brown and Company
A husband's secret life, a wife's new beginning: escape to the Caribbean with New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand. Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband's death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John. After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. Rich with the lush beauty of the tropics and the drama, romance, and intrigue only Elin Hilderbrand can deliver, Winter in Paradise is a truly transporting novel, and the exciting start to a new series.
*My review will contain spoilers*
I want to know why Elin went with this particular ending. To say that I was disappointed it's an understatement.
Winter in Paradise tells the story of Irene Steel. A woman in her fifties, married to Russ and who has two grown children, Cash and Baker.
She recently received a promotion at her job but she understands it really leads to an early retirement. She is very unhappy about this news when she receives a phone call after New Year's telling her that her husband has been in an accident and he has perished in a helicopter crash in the Caribbean. Irene doesn't understand what her husband was doing in St. John. Worse, when he died, he wasn't alone, a West Indian woman was with him. She calls her sons to inform them about the accident and they all fly together to learn more about his death.
Cash and Baker both had bad news before this particular phone call. Cash has lost his two business stores (which Russ gave him the money for) and Baker's wife, Anna a cardiothoracic surgeon, has told him she has fallen in love with another woman.
Soon after arriving at the USVI, the brothers learn that her father was not as good as they thought. He had a mistress and probably was working in something illegal. Russ owns a secluded villa with nine bedrooms which had to cost millions.
I'm going to stop here with the plot and I'm going to tell you what I dislike about it.
*All the family members had very poor communication. They all kept secrets from each other. A complete disconnect in a family that should be mourning together.
*There is insta-love (which I hate) between both brothers and one island girl, Ayers. Although, it's more like a square since she also has a cheating ex-boyfriend (one that by the end of the book she chooses to go back to because it's the one she knows the best. Really?? Her choice as a woman is to go to the cheating guy because she can't do any better (she doesn't even consider staying alone) or because every man cheats????
*The two brothers were always acting like brats, fighting over the same girl. Neither was good enough. One was a pot head and the other one wanted to live like a bum. Neither had any type of aspiration. Cash lost his two stores and the only thing he was looking forward was to go back to skiing. He didn't seem worried about his future and no money. I thought Cash was so immature. He calls Ayers to tell on his brother. He spent his time trying to undermine Baker. The worst part was that Irene had a favorite son and she was blinded to his incompetence.
*Then there is a particular scene between one of the brothers and Ayers having sex on the beach. No protection needed (or mentioned) and when they get interrupted, life goes on without much fanfare.
I believe Irene, Huck, and Maia saved this book. They were so much more interesting to me. Huck was grieving the loss of his step-daughter while trying to be a good grandparent to Maia. He was nice to Irene when he didn't need to be. He also supported Ayers emotionally.
Maia was a sweet kid who lost her mother Rosie (Russ's mistress) and yet she was dealing with it in a positive way. She behaves much more like an adult than Baker or Cash ever did. They should learn from her!
I had no idea this was a trilogy and when it ended in a cliffhanger, it took me by surprise. One last thing, I'm still mad at Irene for having favorites.