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All booksContemporary fictionWhat Happens in Paradise
What Happens in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Contemporary fiction

What Happens in Paradise

3peat author
Elin Hilderbrand is officially a 3-time author at BOTM, which is a pretty big deal!

by Elin Hilderbrand

Quick take

Here's your ticket to a summer state of mind. Just make sure to read Winter in Paradise before you dive in.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_International


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Whodunit


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_2ndSeries

    Second in series

Why I love it

Siobhan Jones
BOTM Editorial Team

What Happens in Paradise is Elin Hilderbrand’s wonderful follow-up to the first book in her romantic mystery series set on a sleepy—or not so sleepy?—Caribbean island. It’s also the second book that BOTM has featured by Hilderbrand this year, and the one that establishes her as our second-ever “threepeat” author.

Longtime fans of the author and her cozy yet elevated books—and I know there are millions of them out there—are probably delighted to see this as a selection, while others may be wondering if we chose this book simply because there are millions of them out there. All I have to say about that is: Don’t knock this book until you’ve read it. The Paradise series is a treasure chest of can’t-guess-it plot twists, salty family drama, and pure reading bliss.

This book picks up where Winter in Paradise left off: Iowa housewife Irene is struggling to accept the unexpected death of her jetsetting businessman husband, her sons Cash and Baker are each struggling with their girl dramas, and Ayers—the deeply relatable St. Johns local—is making bad decisions. If you didn’t read Winter, I encourage you to grab both books now and dive in, because this trilogy is heating up, and you can tell it’s only going to get better. Intricate plotting, a diverse cast of likeably flawed characters, and a beachy setting right as I’m swapping my summer clothes for sweater weather are all I need right now—surely you can’t disagree?

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A year ago, Irene Steele had the shock of her life: her loving husband, father to their grown sons and successful businessman, was killed in a helicopter crash. But that wasn't Irene's only shattering news: he'd also been leading a double life on the island of St. John, where another woman loved him, too.

Now Irene and her sons are back on St. John, determined to learn the truth about the mysterious life—and death—of a man they thought they knew. Along the way, they're about to learn some surprising truths about their own lives, and their futures.

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Get an early look from the first pages of What Happens in Paradise.

Member thoughts

All (7851)
All (7851)
Love (5169)
Like (2479)
Dislike (203)
7946 ratings
  • 65% Love
  • 31% Like
  • 3% Dislike
  • Oklahoma City, OK

    I couldn’t put this book down! I finished it in two days. I find myself sad when a character’s perspective changes to the next because I get so involved in their story. Can’t wait to get the 3rd book!

  • Muskego, WI

    Enjoyed this book. I did read Winter in Paradise first and can’t wait for the third book. Can’t imagine living through this nightmare and not knowing my fate that I’ll be facing because of my husband.

  • Iowa City, IA

    I loved the first book and the second didn’t disappoint. Reading from each character’s viewpoints you get everyone’s story. Once you start reading, you’re hooked. I can’t wait for the final book!

  • Laguna Vista, TX

    Loved this book. I didn’t realize it was a part of a series, so had to scramble to read the first one. So glad I did, and can’t wait for the third and final book in this series. The characters are ????

  • Dyersburg, TN

    Oh, my! You can read this without reading ‘Winter in Paradise’, but I highly recommend reading both. I cannot wait for the third book! If I have to wait until October 2020, I might die! I need more!

  • Gilbert, AZ

    I absolutely love this whole series and can’t wait for the third book to come out. I love all these characters and their lives. And I’m super interested to find out what really happened. I am hooked!

  • Savannah, GA

    Great #2 in the trilogy - maybe even better than the first! Unlike so many books, I’m vested in every character. Hilderbrandt’s writing is so easy and smooth, her books are like fresh air for the mind

  • Columbus , OH

    It’s as if I became a tourist on St. John while traveling through these pages. Elin allows us to live through the lives of her characters to gain an appreciation for her personal ties to the island :)

  • Livonia, MI

    Absolutely loved this book almost as much as the first! I love that these books are told from each persons perspective. It’s a super easy read with some romance and mystery. Can’t wait for book #3!

  • Stevensville , MI

    My favorite book series I have ever read! Elin’s writing makes you feel like the characters are your real life friends. You become emotionally invested and swept away in this story of love and scandal

  • Aberdeen, WA

    I just love these characters. It rotates the perspective of 6 different characters and I seriously enjoy every character. Normally these Books I’m waiting for my favorite character to begin...not here

  • Gurnee, IL

    Loved this second book in this series and now I really cannot wait for the third book. The questions continue to loom for these characters—it’s fun to lean more about them as the mystery unravels...

  • Orlando, FL

    Excellent sequel! I felt like I was right on the island with them. I love every single character and the plot is fantastic! Another great book by her! Light, enjoyable read! Can’t wait 4 the next one!

  • Madison, WI

    Really enjoyed this book! It’s not the typical book I go for and I was worried it was going to be a cliché romance but the mystery tied in is great! Read the second book, can’t wait for the third!


    This book was great although all of her books are . Filled with a lot of surprises left you wondering what will happen next . And who will end up with who . Anout family , lost,betrayal and friendships

  • Milford, CT

    Excellent sequel! I love how this story is told through the intertwined perspectives of all the characters. Just enough to keep you wanting more. I can't wait to see what the final book has to offer!

  • Avon, OH

    While this book isn't going to win awards, it's fun, lighthearted, and exactly what I needed/wanted. I enjoyed this trip to paradise and can't wait until I can add the final book into my box next time

  • St. Petersburg, FL

    I love this series! The characters are likable another are great plot twists. Having vacationed in St. John for two decades, I absolutely love how she includes the island and the people in her story.

  • Troy, OH

    Sometimes the middle story in a trilogy can feel like the "in-between", but this book was juicy. I felt like I was reading gossip, but it's okay because it's fiction. Can't wait to read the last book.

  • Knoxville, TN

    I had to grab the first book prior to reading this one and now cannot wait for the third on the series! Simply could not put it down and read the two books back to two friends hooked as wel

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