We should probably rename our December Book Club to the Elin Hilderbrand Book Club. We’ve read one of her books for the last 6 years. I’m definitely not complaining though. I love her books and this series is so good. They are usually pretty easy reads too. Which is perfect for this super busy time of year.
Our December Book Club is definitely the group’s favorite. Every year, we dine at one of our favorite restaurants, play a rousing game of Dirty Santa, and enjoy some much-needed friend time. We also spend a little time discussing the book in between sips of wine.
The Publisher’s Synopsis…
Spend your winter on sunlit shores in the New York Times bestselling follow-up to Winter in Paradise, as secret lives and new loves emerge under the bright Caribbean sky.
A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, the father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn’t Irene’s only shattering news: he’d also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.
Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life — and death — of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they’re about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives and their futures.
What I Thought…
This book picks up where last year’s Winter in Paradise left off. We see our main characters, The Steeles still reeling from the death of their husband and father, Russ. Irene, the wife, and mother, who was married for more than 35 years to Russ and parent to Baker and Cash, and grandmother to Floyd, is struggling with her day-to-day life back in Iowa. Irene just can’t get past the fact that Russ provided well for them with his lucrative job, and the only downfall was that he was never home, at least that is what she thought.
Irene learned many different things when she discovered that her husband perished in a helicopter crash in St. John. She found out that he was hiding a completely different life from her, that he owned extensive property on a tropical island and most importantly, he had a young mistress and a twelve-year-old daughter. Irene is struggling with how much she may have played in his role of deception and how she is feeling like her life is at a standstill. But to make matters worse, Russ’s boss arranged his cremation without Irene’s input. She is trying to tie up loose ends but is having difficulty obtaining a death certificate.
The book also delves into the lives of a few of the other significant characters including Huck, who is Rosie’s step-father and Ayers, Rosie’s best friend. Huck discovers a substantial amount of cash in her things. Huck ends up turning the money over to the FBI. Huck knows that Russ’ and Rosie’s deaths were not accidental and this just cements the fact that Russ was possibly dealing with something sinister and illegal. The characters start to intertwine as Huck later decides to call Irene at her home in Iowa. And being Huck, instead of speaking to her about the FBI, he offers her a job on his fishing boat. Irene spontaneously accepts, bringing the storyline and her new life back to idyllic St. John.
Irene learns that the FBI has been snooping around Russ’s villa and thinks that this is the perfect time to start her life anew. Cash, the youngest son, is thinking the same thing and receives a text from Rosie’s best friend, Ayers to start a job and decides to make a go of it in St. John also. Baker, the oldest son, is dealing with a somewhat acrimonious divorce from his surgeon wife Anna, who now has a female lover, and he’s responsible to care for their son, Floyd. Anna decides to take a position in Cleveland and leave their Houston home, Baker sees no reason not to go to St. John with Floyd and start over. Baker doesn’t realize that Cash and his Mom are moving to St. John, but the three end up arriving at almost the same time.
This second edition to the Paradise series is a suspenseful and emotional read, however, I would definitely recommend reading the first installment, Winter in Paradise, prior to this one. The characters and the location are described in vivid detail, but there are a lot of storylines that are started in the first book that are necessary for understanding this book. I’m definitely on pins and needles waiting for the third installment to this excellent series.
Next Month’s Selection…
A Few Other Titles I Enjoyed This Month…
So what are you reading this month?? I would love to hear, I’m always on the lookout for my next favorite read.
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