Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Paradise Island by Gena Hale

Paradise Island was published in 2001 and is the first Gena Hale romance novel. As a writer, I'm trained to notice some things that a normal reader does not and in the beginning, some of these types of slips caught my eye. However, soon enough, I was sucked into the story. People often accuse romances of being formulaic and it is true that there are certain elements that show up time and again. However, what makes the stories unique is the handling of specific themes or even events. I can't tell you how many times I've read a romance with either the hero or heroine having amnesia in the beginning, some good, some not. This definitely fell on the good side. The characters were unique and the heroine special in a way I can't reveal without spoiling, but which made the story more enjoyable for me.

I've read many of Sheila Kelly's novels in her other incarnations as S.L. Viehl and Jessica Hall, but this is the first Gena Hale for me. Paradise Island starts a series, but the two involvements that come up in this one are resolved properly, so I wonder who is up in the next. It was a good, enjoyable read with both a plausible plot and a hint of terror as the characters wind their way through international espionage and political maneuvering of which they are only tools, but critical ones. I don't really know what to say without spoiling it, because everyone knows the main story line since it's a romance. I can say that the emotions were realistic, drawing me to the characters and their tales. I had a little trouble with there being so many main characters, POVs and storylines, unusual in a romance, but they are handled well and resolve nicely despite being relatively rare in the genre.

Bottom line is that this is good entertainment. While I am drawn to complex, sociological novels, a permanent diet would be exhausting. I've always read romances as a good break and this one successfully served that purpose...so much so that I was going to jump back into a heavier book and instead found myself reaching for Dream Mountain, book 2 in the series. I don't think I'm ready for my break to be over yet :).


Linda said...

This is the only romance my husband has read all the way through. I enjoyed it, too, but I think his finishing it tells more than anything I could say. :)

Margaret said...

Now, on the one hand, it's sad to measure a book's worth by how it appeals to someone not in the target audience, but on the other hand, I totally understand what you're saying and that's cool. You might see if he likes Kay Hooper as well. I thought it was a thriller mystery type book so gave the one I got as part of a prize drawing to my hubby. He loved it and bought more after telling me that it was a romance. Now I'm thinking I should offer him Paradise Island :). Not that it'll mean more sales for Sheila. I already have the full set :).