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Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand
Contemporary fiction

Winter in Paradise

by Elin Hilderbrand

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Quick take

An inspiring story about a woman who finds hope in trying times on a small Caribbean island.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_LightRead

    Light read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series


Irene Steele’s idyllic life—house, husband, family—is shattered when she is woken up by a late-night phone call. Her beloved husband has been found dead, but before Irene can process this tragic news, she must confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death. He was found on St. John island, a tropical paradise far removed from their suburban life. Leaving the cold winter behind, Irene flies down to the beautiful Caribbean beaches of St. John only to make another shocking discovery: her husband had a secret second family. As Irene investigates the mysterious circumstances of her husband’s death, she is plunged into a web of intrigue and deceit belied by the pristine white sand beaches of St. John’s. This exciting first book in the Paradise series will transport readers to a new beach locale—another world that Elin knows as well as her beloved Nantucket—and have them longing for winter.

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Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of Elin Hilderbrand's Winter in Paradise.
Winter in Paradise

Irene: Iowa City

It’s the first night of the new year.

Irene Steele has spent the day in a state of focused productivity. From nine to one, she led away every piece of paperwork relating to the complete moth-to-butterfly renovation of her 1892 Queen Anne–style home on Church Street. From one to two, she ate a thick sandwich, chicken salad on pumpernickel (she has always been naturally slender, luckily, so no New Year’s diets for her), and then she took a short nap on the velvet fainting couch in front of the fire in the parlor. From two fifteen to three-thirty, she composed an email response to her boss, Joseph Feeney, the publisher of Heartland Home & Style magazine, who two days earlier had informed her that she was being “promoted” from editor in chief of the magazine to executive editor, a newly created position that reduces both Irene’s hours and responsibilities by half and comes with a 30 percent pay cut.

At a quarter of four, she tried calling her husband, Russ, who was away on business. The phone rang six times and went to voicemail. Irene didn’t leave a message. Russ never listened to them, anyway.

She tried Russ again at four thirty and was shuttled straight to voicemail. She paused, then hung up. Russ was on his phone night and day. Irene wondered if he was intentionally avoiding her call.

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Why I love it

As an author, it’s not a stretch to say that books are the one true love of my life. Though there’s magic in all of them, I am most captivated by plot-driven stories that deal with the mysteries of everyday life—stories that pose the question: What if everything you know is a lie?

Irene seems to have the perfect life as a wife, mother, and magazine editor. But when her husband dies in a mysterious helicopter crash in the Caribbean, she’s left to wonder: Was everything really as perfect as it seemed? Leaving the suburbs behind, Irene journeys to the Caribbean in search of answers not only about her husband, but also about herself—about the woman she wants to be and the life she wants to lead.

I was drawn from the start to this vivid story of heartbreak, betrayal, and the life-altering effects of being blindsided by love. Hilderbrand writes with such detail and clarity that I felt like I was on vacation in St. John right beside Irene and her family. Winter in Paradise is as well-crafted as it is compelling, and while—fair warning—this story ends with a cliffhanger, I can’t wait to read the sequel and find out what happens next to the Steele family.

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Member ratings (10,286)

  • Christine B.

    Mountville, PA

    I have read many books by this author and this is definitely one of my favorites. Character building was amazing and I loved the mystery behind the story. Can’t wait to read the series. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Lisa M.

    Tampa, FL

    Could. Not. Put. This. Book. Down! & I am so happy it’s a trilogy! Loved the different character perspectives and the love stories. It’s a mystery, but it’s also so good. Love Elin Hilderbrand’s work!

  • Lyndsey C.

    San Jose, CA

    I didn’t realize it was the first in a trilogy until I read the “about the author” after the last page. This book was unexpectedly good and I can’t wait to dig into book #2! The ending has me hooked!

  • CINDy K.

    Las vegas, NV

    This book is sooo good! I didn’t want this book to end! There’s a cliffhanger ending that has me chomping at the bit for the next installment! It’s a trilogy. I loved the characters & the storyline!

  • Jessica D.

    New Cumberland , PA

    I couldn’t put this book down! WOW! Didn’t realize it was the first of a trilogy and I’m anxiously anticipating the next book. Well developed and relatable characters. Great voices and plot. MUST READ

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