REVIEW: Trouble in Paradise by Jennifer GreeneSaturday, August 20, 2011 1:00
This is my second book by Jennifer Greene in the last couple of months, and I’ve been pretty pleasantly surprised at the heartwarming stories I’ve read from her. Neither the hero nor the heroine are looking for love and marriage, but when fate puts temptation and their dreams in front of them, despite eventual doubts and vulnerabilities, their lives drastically change, but is it for the better?
Susan owns her own bookstore, one of her dreams come to life, and doesn’t have time to try to find Mr. Right. But a friend keeps after Susan to go a blind date with the woman’s brother. She just knows they’ll get along great. After putting it off as long as possible, Susan finally agrees. And the night doesn’t start out with a bang, but it just might end with one.
Griff is divorced and has three kids, all of whom live with his ex-wife. He’s not looking to get married again, once was definitely enough. He loves his kids beyond measure and will do anything to make them happy. Running late the night of his blind date – his son’s game went much longer than anticipated – is not the way to make a good impression, especially when he finds a tipsy and pissed-off date still waiting for him.
Taken by the beautiful bookseller while she’s swept off her feet by the charming, older man, Griff and Susan end up married in just three months. Their honeymoon is fixing up their new home together and entertaining the kids one at a time, all in a effort to ease everyone into a new family situation. But everything is cut short when Griff’s oldest son comes up missing and his ex-wife shirks responsibility. A court order puts all three children in Griff’s and Susan’s home in no time flat, and things don’t go as Susan thought they would.
The youngest, Tiger, wants a hamster. Barbara, the only girl, is surly and tests Susan at every turn. The oldest, Tom, at least talks to her when he’s home. But out-of-control parties, extra housework, cleaning animal cages and so many other unexpected things begin to take their toll on her. I can see where Susan is coming from, but my sympathy only went so far. She let those kids run roughshod over her without putting her foot down, not wanting Griff to know she’s having problems with the children. So it doesn’t surprise me things begin to unravel. Things get even worse for Susan when she discovers she’s pregnant; the normal emotions running high for a woman not sure of her man and her life.
I do like Griff a lot. He has a hot switch and when it’s flicked, everyone knows he means business. There’s a time or two Susan misinterprets his anger, and he handles it with her with the gentleness and kindness she’s come to know from him. The kids are the usual confused children of divorce. Tiger is the cutest thing, and Barbara keeps her loyalty to her mother close to the vest, though I don’t think the woman deserves it. Tom is at that point where he’s not quite a man but he’s no longer a boy and he’s learning things his way. Susan loves them all just because they’re Griff’s and Griff knows that.
All in all, a nice, solid family story with love and real-life issues. Ms. Greene has a knack for writing these types of stories just right.
From blind date...
He’s divorced, eleven years older and the father of three. Not exactly every girl’s Ideal Man.
But as soon as reserved bookstore owner Susan meets charismatic Griff Anderson, she’s
smitten—and just three passion-filled months later, she’s his wife.
To instant family…
Their idyllic honeymoon spent restoring a majestic Victorian is cut short when the newlyweds
happily—but unexpectedly—find themselves with full custody of his children. Now, instead of
enjoying passionate nights and lazy mornings-after with Griff, Susan finds herself thrust into
the role of Mom to Tom, Barbara and Tiger. And quarrelling with her husband over how to
handle the drama that comes with a house full of tweens and teens.
When pet problems, party crashers and pregnancy scares threaten their happiness, Susan
can’t help but wonder what Griff really wanted: a wife, or a mother for his children?
Read an excerpt.