Tyndale House (May 10, 2010)
In the wake of personal Hurricanes including a divorce, Riley Sinclair runs fast and far to escape the haunting memories and sense of failure. She lands at an exclusive Caribbean Resort appropriately or maybe not so appropriately dubbed Paradise Island to become a glorified Activities Director (Guest Relations is the technical job title). Shortly after her arrival they are preparing for an especially busy week with several VIP visitors as well as guests she is expected to take special care of for the duration of their visits. Three of these guests are also in the wake of their own personal hurricanes which Riley must juggle along with her daughter who also spends time visiting her father on the mainland. As the week begins, there are warnings of a Tropical Storm that could soon put Paradise Island in its destructive sights. As the storm builds to Hurricane force, the Island jumps to action evacuating guests while the option is still among their choices, shutting down and storing all movable items that could be damaged or cause collateral damage to the resort, directing the remaining guests along with their belongings to central space that can be used for protective shelter of large numbers till the Hurricane has passed.
As they weather this external hurricane the four women who bonded over their personal times of pain and regret over things beyond their control or past choices they cannot undo soon realize that the weather outside mirrors their own internal battles. Each woman recognizes they face a personal destruction which also affects many around them unless they deal with things they would rather leave buried. Soon it becomes clear that if they truly want to rebuild their lives and retain relationships that have been stretched and battered by the personal storms only the process of facing their past and tearing down the walls they’ve erected about themselves can mend the damage already inflicted.
Though this appears to be a stand-alone novel, the resort could easily become a recurring setting for companion volumes or the characters could be followed in a series of books starring a group of characters. Laine (the grieving perfectionist author), Tamyra (the beauty queen facing a medical crisis she would rather ignore), and Winnie (the widow with children attempting to not only run her life but force her into a new marriage so she won’t be alone), and Riley (the driven single mother with conflicting demands on her time and energy) quickly wend their way into readers heart and minds. Four women who mirror a bit of each other as well as each of us readers leave an appetite for even more of Hildreth’s characters and narrative lingering in my imagination well beyond just the time spent reading a book. To discover how these lives and experiences intertwine into a beautiful tapestry only God could create be sure to hunt down your own copy of a satisfying though bittersweet story of life and nature mirroring one another.
(ISBN#978-1414335575, 384pp, $13.99)
Visit Denise’s website. Thanks to Tyndale for a review copy in conjunction with FIRST WildCard tour. See what other FIRST members have to say by visiting participant blogs in the comment section of the main blog post. Read an excerpt.