Title: Winter in Paradise
Series: Paradise, #1
Author: Elin Hilderbrand
Genre: Contemporary, mystery
My rating: ★★★
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.
This was my first time diving into an Elin Hilderbrand novel and I am… intrigued. This book was a 4-star read for me until the end but I have high hopes for the rest of the trilogy and I’m looking forward to them!
Winter in Paradise is about family secrets and lies. Irene receives devastating news that her husband died in a helicopter crash in St. John (US Virgin Islands). So she, along with her two adult children, Baker and Cash, go to the island to figure out what happened. They soon discover that Irene’s husband had a mistress and a totally secret, lavish double life.
This really was such a fun, page-turner of a mystery. And I adore books that tie in secret families. I also enjoyed the character development, especially the back stories about Baker and Cash. They all have complex and complicated family dynamics. And not only are they trying to solve their father’s mysterious secret life (and death), they’re also figuring out things about themselves.
So without giving away spoilers (ugh reviewing mysteries is complicated for me!), I will say the mystery surrounding the dead husband/father kind of takes a back seat. I think since this is the first book in a trilogy, it’s setting us up more for what’s to come. So we really get more insight into the lives of the locals on the island and the relationships they form with Irene and her sons. I was hoping to get a lot more dark secrets and intrigue.
Overall I would categorize this more as a lighthearted mystery. There are serious topics such as cheating and marriage separation, but it doesn’t delve into any dark or disturbing/graphic scenes. But one character does something at the end that just really pissed me off, and how things wrapped up was a ridiculous (and predictable) cliffhanger.
I read this book as part of TistheSeasonAthon, which was a holiday themed readathon I co-hosted with my lovely friends!