It is Dartmouth Cove, Nova Scotia, 1853 and Captain Estelle Stonebridge is consumed with revenge against the man that killed her father. Captain Gregory Marshall is lulled to sleep by the fiery-haired valkrie’s magical song when she kidnaps him. Upon waking he finds himself in chains staring at the beautiful Estelle. Estelle is taking him to her Island of Paradise to face trial for a murder he didn’t commit.
Attacked by the notorious pirate, Jack Cutlass, and magically appearing in a land they know nothing about, Estelle soon realizes there is more at stake than fighting her arch enemy. With the unsettling notion that there is something otherworldly manipulating them all, Estelle is torn between taking Gregory with her to Paradise, battling her powerful attraction to him, and fighting the magical curse —Amor Fati—that Cutlass has unleashed on the world.
As Estelle and Gregory work together, albeit begrudgingly at first, and are drawn closer to the evil source, the battle intensifies as an evil power takes over minds of many men and eventually Estelle herself. Estelle must use her magical gift to defeat the terrible power that is close to being unleashed on the world, overcome her deep mistrust of men, and realize her powerful love for Gregory.
As I have mentioned before, this year for me has been about reading outside my comfort zone. When I was approached with the opportunity to read Paradise Island, I thought this is perfectly outside my comfort zone – pirates, curses, otherworldly powers, you name it. So I grabbed a copy and started to read. I’m really glad that I did.
Estelle was this wonderfully strong and proud woman, championing the forgotten and abused and rescuing those sold or stolen into slavery. After the loss of her father and subsequent homelessness, she has made herself a life as protector of a community of those she has saved.
She blames this man, Gregory for her father’s murder and is determined to bring him to justice. However, she realises soon after capturing him, that all is not as it may seem.
Thank you, Ms Ross, for not employing the tried-&-somewhat-tired paranormal instalove. Although an attraction is fairly evident between Estelle and Gregory from early in the story, they don’t profess undying love on page 4. Saying that, the romance between Estelle and Gregory develops quickly. In the context of this book, however, and for reasons that become clear later on, the pace with which it moved worked well for me. The sexytimes were never out of place in the story – hot and sensual without being freaky or over-the-top.
I won’t give a spoiler-ish review, because this book has not yet been released. However, trust me when I say Paradise Island is full of moments of high adventure, sweet romance, vengeance and bad guys getting their butts kicked. It was a lot of fun to read – I got a real Pirates of the Caribbean vibe at times….minus the sozzled cap’n of course!
As I understand it, this is the first in a planned series of three books – I’m almost certain I know who will be the focus of the other two stories. I would happily revisit Paradise if this is the case.
My rating: 4 out of 5
Release Date: 13 May 2013
Note: I was generously provided with an advanced reader copy by the author, Charmaine Ross, in exchange for an honest review.