Book Review: Paradise Unveiled by Joan Day Brady

Book:  Paradise Unveiled
Author:  Joan Day Brady
Pages:  304
Publisher:  American Book Publishing (September 2011)
Book Source:  Independent Purchase
Category:  Historical Romance
Style:  Page-turner

This, my friends, is my aunt, Joan Day Brady.  Okay, technically, she is not my aunt, but she is my mom's close-as-sisters friend since they were teenagers.  So, she's always been my Aunt Joanie.

Joan Brady is my hero, and not only because she anchors so many of my warm recollections of fun and family.  Joan is a do-er—of lots of things, but, specifically, in 2006 Cedar Fort Publishing released her cookbook, Daily Meal Planner.  It's terrific, chock full of good ideas, and bespeaks all the homey wisdom and common sense I have come to identify with her.

Joan is somewhere in the vicinity of her 80th birthday (a year or two shy, I think).   Last year (2011), she published her first novel, Paradise Unveiled.  I love that at a time of life when so many consider their adventures over and done, Joan has seized the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream.  Forget about a bucket list.  How about an onward and upward list?

In Paradise Unveiled, Valerie, a single young woman with high moral standards, flees a violently abusive relationship and finds herself in Hawaii, of all places.  Alone and unprotected, she stumbles into some potentially disastrous (if humorous) situations, until she finds safe harbor in the friendship of a young mother and her family and friends.

Valerie isn't looking for love, but romance comes knocking.  Andrew is everything she wants: handsome, strong, gentle, funny, devoted to family, but, especially, he shares her faith and her values.  Andrew is not only safety and security but a chance for real and lasting happiness, and it appears smooth sailing for their future together.

However, just as their budding romance begins to truly blossom, Valerie's old flame appears on the scene, threatening everything, including Andrew's life.  Neither is Hawaii as benign and genial as it appears at first glance.  Dangers lurk in the most unexpected places, and only hope and faith will rescue Valerie's cast-adrift dreams.

The book is set in 1960s-era Hawaii, a time and a place where Joan lived for several years as a young wife and mother.  Her firsthand knowledge comes through the prose with strength and confidence.  The reader feels safe in the custody of a long-time resident on a chatty island excursion, not of the tourist sites and heavy-traffic glitz but of the back roads and real people who make the Hawaiian islands their home.  Her descriptions are vivid, her people real, and her recount of the Hilo Bay tsunami and its aftermath chilling.

Based on real if fictionalized events, the first-hand flavor that stirs the sensibilities also comes as a matter of course.

Bottom line: pass along — a great book to enjoy and share.

FTC Disclaimer: This book was independently purchased. I received no compensation from the author or their agent for this content.

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