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Jackie K. Cooper

Jackie K. Cooper

Posted: July 20, 2010 12:49 PM

Hurricanes in Paradise: Characters Over Plot

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Some books are plot driven and some are character driven. Denise Hildreth's latest novel Hurricanes in Paradise is definitely character driven. In this book she has created four distinct persons who grab the readers' attention and hold it for the length of the book.

The story takes place at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. Riley Sinclair is the director of guest relations there and works hard at making sure the guests assigned to her have the most wonderful time possible. The book covers a week in Riley's life. She is assigned three guests to particularly monitor -- Tamyra Lawson who is a reigning beauty queen, Winnie Harris who is a school principal and widow, and Laine Fulton who is an author of romantic fiction.

Riley has her hands full with her job, raising her young daughter Gabby, and also keeping an eye out for a hurricane which might hit their island. As soon as Riley knows a hurricane is definitely headed their way she has her ex-husband fly in and take their daughter home with him to South Carolina.

Now all she has to worry about is her guests and the weather. She soon learns that Laine Fulton is a storm unto herself. She is one of the most demanding women Riley has ever met and even though Riley tries to please her, Laine takes an instant disliking to her. Luckily she gets along beautifully with the other two women.

The book explores each of the four women and uncovers their secrets. We learn that tragedy has struck them all at one time or another. They have seen the storms of life and have been wounded by them. On the magical island where they are vacationing they are each seeking healing.

Hildreth writes her books with an open heart and a generosity of spirit. She injects faith into her story and makes it a complete element in the outcome. She does not shy away from having religion play a central part. This is not a detriment to her book but it does play into having some plot twists arrive too conveniently. Because of this some readers might find the flow of the story too neatly tied up in the ending.

Still the flaws in the plot do not affect the richness of the characters. This is where Hildreth excels. The individual stories the women have along with the actions they take as a unit of four make for magnificent reading. You will find each of the four crawling into your mind and eventually your heart.

Hurricanes in Paradise is a fascinating study of the power of female bonding. You will enjoy these characters and learn from them as well. Denise Hildreth is a writer with a message and she delivers it enjoyably in this new novel.

Hurricanes in Paradise is published by Tyndale Fiction. It contains 375 pages and sells for $13.99.