cover image Troubles in Paradise

Troubles in Paradise

Elin Hilderbrand. Little, Brown, $28 (352p) ISBN 978-0-316-43558-1

Hilderbrand wraps up her Paradise series (after What Happens in Paradise) with this excellent story of secret lives and second chances. Things begin with Irene Steele’s husband, Russell, dying in a helicopter crash. Russell was ostensibly on a business trip to the Virgin Islands when he died; however, Irene learns that Russell led a double life. He spent part of his time with Irene in Iowa—a loving husband and goofy father to their two adult sons—and part of his time in St. John, where he had a longtime girlfriend and a 12-year-old daughter, Maia. After the FBI suspects Russell’s death was the result of foul play, Irene and her two sons, Baker and Cash, uproot their lives and move to St. John to find answers. The soapy setup has all the classic whodunit elements, but the dreamy island setting and St. John’s charming, quirky residents are the real draw. In the island’s bighearted community, Irene, Baker, and Cash each find a chance at love. While the sailing is not always smooth (their relationships are complicated by Russell’s legacy, and hurricane season looms) Irene finally gets some resolution and enjoys island life. This low-stakes, sun-drenched drama is pure escapist fun. (Oct.)