Troubles in Paradise
by Hilderbrand, Elin

As drama unfolds around her and her family after the death of her husband, who was leading a double life, Irene Steele gets some help from a mysterious source and a new beginning in the paradise of St. John after the truth is finally revealed. 250,000 first printing.

Elin Hilderbrand is the mother of three three-sport athletes, an aspiring fashionista, a dedicated jogger, a world explorer, an enthusiastic foodie, and a grateful six-year breast cancer survivor. She spends part of every winter writing on St. John.

In Winter in Paradise (2018), Irene Steele discovered that her late husband, Russ, had a secret family in the Caribbean on St. John. In What Happens in Paradise (2019), she and her grown sons decide to move there permanently, which is fine with boat captain Huck, who is as impressed with Irene's grit as he is with her fishing skills. But in Hilderbrand's latest Paradise novel, Irene's hard-won stability doesn't last. The FBI seizes her assets while they investigate Russ' shady business partner, and her feelings for Huck feel like too much, too soon. Meanwhile, Cash's new girlfriend insists she is not interested in the hippie tech bro who's funding their plans for an eco resort, and Baker and his young son arrive on St. John to discover that Ayers, his island crush, is pregnant. As the Steeles and those in their orbit work things out-amid takeout fish tacos and cold beers-Hurricane Irma picks up steam. Nobody sets a scene like Hilderbrand, and readers will relish the satisfying conclusion to this vividly escapist trilogy that is as aspirational as it is emotional.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Fans will be more than ready for a new immersion in best-selling Hilderbrand's Paradise series. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

The Steele family's three-volume St. John adventure comes to a poignant end. As the author warns in the foreword, if you haven't read the first two books of this trilogy (Winter in Paradise, 2018; What Happens in Paradise, 2019), don't start here. If you have, read this one slowly, because at the end we'll be saying goodbye to the series' endearing cast of transplanted Midwesterners, their new friends in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the many wonderful bars, restaurants, estates, bungalows, beaches, and seafaring vessels they frequent. In truth, you may find a leisurely pace easier to maintain than usual. The confounding mysteries and shocking reversals that drove the first two installments are wrapped up here, but the answers are pretty much as expected, and no new excitement is introduced. Threads that could have added a plot boost—a high-powered New York lawyer hired to deal with the devastation Irene Steele suffers as a result of her dead husband's criminal activity, the FBI investigation into same, an old diary, an unplanned pregnancy— play out gently, or are dropped, instead of picking up the momentum. Hilderbrand's choice to tell us in the introductory note about her fictionalization of Hurricane Irma takes away any element of surprise that might have had, and she doesn't use the disaster for much in the way of plot, anyway. Oh, well. There are still plenty of lemongrass sugar cookies and a gorgonzola Caesar with pork belly and wood-grilled sirloin, served with an expensive bottle of cabernet pulled from the cellar of some annoying rich people, reviving the old joke about wine descriptions one last time: "Notes of fire coral, DEET and the Tide Pod challenge." Just like everything else in 2020, this is not quite what you had hoped for, but, on the other hand, the comfort of a Hilderbrand novel is never something to sneer at. Like your third serving of a delicious meal—still very good, but not much excitement left. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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