Monday, December 10, 2018

Review: Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand (audio)

Title: Winter in Paradise
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Series: Paradise, #1
Narrator: Erin Bennett
Published: October 2018, Hachette Audio
Length: 10 hours 11 minutes
Source: Publisher

Spend the coldest days of winter on a Caribbean beach with New York Times Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand.  

Join New York Times Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand on the stunning beaches of St. John's for the beginning of her thrilling new winter series-The Paradise. Winter Paradise, the first book in the Paradise series, has everything that readers have come to know and love about an Elin Hilderbrand novel, plus a healthy dose of intrigue. 

Irene Steele's idyllic life-house, husband, family-is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband's death. He was found on St. John's island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life. Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John's only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. 

As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband's death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John's. 

This exciting first book in the Paradise series will transport readers to a new beach locale-another world that Elin knows as well as her beloved Nantucket-and have them longing for winter.

My thoughts:  It's no secret that I am a huge fan of Elin Hilderbrand...I have read/listened to every book she has written, falling in love with the characters and stories she creates. I was ecstatic when she wrote her first winter series and so bummed when that ended last year, so of course I jumped for joy when I heard she had a new one coming out...and what a surprise to find out she had changed the setting on us!

This book, the first in Elin Hilderbrand's Paradise series, transports us to the island of St. John...a departure from her typical Nantucket locale...and I have to say, I loved getting to know a different island, especially since it's an island I have yet to visit! As is typical with all Elin's books, the characters are incredibly relatable and the story is told with compassion and emotion.

Irene is the epitome of strength - even possessing strength she did not realize she had. After her life is turned upside down by the phone call she receives about her husband's death, she travels to St. John's to try to get answers...but finds out her husband had been keeping quite a few secrets from her. And the more she digs, the more questions she has.

I loved all the characters we meet in this first book - I feel that each one has such a distinct personality and I cannot wait to see how they all continue to develop as the series progresses. They are all brought together by circumstance - Irene and her two sons, Baker and Cash, and the islanders that have a connection to Irene's late husband Russ - Huck, his granddaughter Maia, and their family friend Ayers - and I think seeing how they go forward will be interesting. Already there have been some intriguing developments.

Of course, I have to say something about that could I not? I love series...I read them all the time. But I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers! Especially when you have to wait a year for that next book to come out. So yes...great book, but be warned that you are going to want to read the next book right away, and it's not out until next fall.

Audio thoughts: I love listening to Elin Hilderbrand's books on audio - they just translate really well and Erin Bennett gets that. She is able to bring Elin's characters to life, giving them their own unique voices and personalities, and she gets Elin's style and nuances so that the story comes alive as she tells it. I hope Erin Bennett narrates this whole series - I am such a fan of consistency when it comes to narrators and series.


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