I’ve loved Elin Hilderbrand‘s writing for a very long time. Her most recent novel, Winter in Paradise, the first of a proposed trilogy, is a triumph of energy and ambition. She has a great sense of humor, and her stories always have interesting plots and likable protagonists.
Get ready for a novel vacation with drama, romance, a little comedy, and dysfunction, all of which add flavor to her stories in short ways that will have you turning pages. After a string of novels set on Nantucket, Hilderbrand shifts gears to take readers to St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Irene Steele is the Executive Editor of Heartland Home & Style magazine and a housewife in Iowa City. Her husband of 35 years, Russ, is a high-flier at the investment firm Ascension and provides lavishly for the couple.
Irene has spent the last six years meticulously renovating their Victorian home into everything she ever imagined it could be.
She now takes great pleasure in showing off her beautiful home. But Russ is never at home and always on the road, and Irene never seems to notice his absences. His job has provided for them and they have been living comfortably in Iowa.
As the New York Times reviews, “[Hilderbrand] once again transports her readers to idyllic beaches, delicious restaurants, and other tantalizing locales…. She always provides a well-developed story with intricate character arcs and plot twists.
On New Year’s Eve, however, she gets a phone call that completely alters her plans for the evening. The news of his death in a helicopter crash near St. John is terrible. The news rocks Irene to her core, and she wonders why on earth he was at St. John.
Baker and Cash are Irene and Russ’s grown boys. Cash is a ski instructor and the proprietor of two unsuccessful outdoor equipment stores in which Russ had invested. Baker, knowing his brother well, had a gut feeling that the businesses would fail.
Their sibling rivalry provides depth to the narrative; it all started when Baker slept with Cash’s ex-girlfriend when they were in high school. Oops! Baker and his wife Anna, a renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, have a kid named Floyd who is four years old.
Floyd used to be a tech stock day trader, but now he stays at home to take care of the kids because Anna is always working and rarely has any time for or interest in Floyd. Anna informs Baker that she wants a divorce because she’s in love with a female doctor at the hospital, which only adds fuel to the fire. Whaaaaat??!!
When Irene makes the spontaneous choice to visit St. John, she has no idea what adventures await her. Cash and Baker come along to help her figure out the mystery that awaits them. They eventually discover the lies and dishonesty that Russ has been practicing. The tale really starts to pick up speed and get hot and fascinating at this point.
Hilderbrand frequently visits St. John, where she has written several novels. Again, in WINTER IN PARADISE, she transports readers to exotic locales including beaches, restaurants, and nightclubs. Her elaborations are boundless in scope.
Her usual high standard of detail and skillful interweaving of plots and characters is maintained. As one would expect from a writer of Hilderbrand’s caliber, she swiftly wins over her readers and draws them into her stories and the lives of her characters.
Like I’ve said in other reviews of her work, her creativity knows no bounds, and the skill with which she presents her novels makes them a pleasure to read.
For several years now, I’ve been reviewing Elin Hilderbrand’s books, and she never ceases to impress me. Each of her novels has its own unique flavor, and she does a great job of keeping her readers engaged and anticipating the next one. For several hours, you will be immersed in a thrilling tale that will leave you eager for the sequel.