cover image What Happens in Paradise

What Happens in Paradise

Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-43557-4

Hilderbrand’s captivating follow-up to 2018’s Winter in Paradise, continues the chronicle of Russell Steele’s family as they start over in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, after his suspicious death and the discovery of his hidden second life. After learning that Russ fathered a child with Rosie, a St. John waitress who died with him, in the first book, Russ’s widow Irene leaves her life in Iowa and accepts an offer to work on a fishing charter with Rosie’s stepdad, Huck. Huck and Irene instantly click, despite the odd circumstances. At the same time, Irene’s younger son Cash rethinks his aimless existence after hearing from Rosie’s best friend Ayers about an opening on a boat. Cash and his brother Baker, both in their 30s, are smitten with Ayers, who has gone back to her cheating boyfriend Mick. Baker also considers St. John. The group—Irene, Cash, Baker, Huck, and Ayers—rally around 12-year-old Maia, Rosie’s daughter, as she navigates tweenhood and her loss. Ayers discovers and hides Rosie’s diaries, which detail plenty of evidence regarding Russ’s illegal dealings and a motive for his murder. The book ends on a cliffhanger, setting readers up eagerly for the next book. Those who want a sweet page-turner that’s more than just beach fare will want to take a look. [em](Oct.) [/em]