Hidden Paradise by Janet Mullany
Publication date: 18 September 2012 by Harlequin
Category: Adult Erotica/Romance
Keywords: Erotica, romance, Jane Austen, historical
Format: Paperback, eBook
Source: e-ARC received from Netgalley
If you're a regular reader of the blog, you're probably wondering why we have two reviews for the same book and why we have vastly different opinions of Hidden Paradise. Thuy and I both enjoy romance, whether they are contemporary or historical, vanilla or super-smexy. Luckily, what we can both agree on is that there are lots of different books because there are lots of different readers, and what you enjoy may not always be the same for me--and that's ok!
When I started reading this book, I was immediately reminded of Austenland by Shannon Hale. The characters are play-acting at Georgian splendor, so it's not *quite* a historical. I really didn't enjoy that novel, for the same reason Thuy didn't enjoy this book. I didn't feel connected to any of the characters. But somehow, as shallow as she might have thought Louisa, Mac, and the rest of the characters in Hidden Paradise to be, I really felt attached to them and invested in their eventual happiness.
There are several characters telling this story, which I admit can be confusing. I liked switching from one to the other, though--this element of the book gives it a very British TV-miniseries feel. Many of the characters are dealing with disappointment--some crushingly sad problems. There's the widowed Louisa, adrift on a sea of grief; Mac, who is more of a Wickham than a Darcy and is beginning to realize how his life is becoming just what he deserves; and Rob, who is very young but who takes on greater family responsibility when his mother up and leaves his father and siblings. These three main characters turn to others looking for a good time, but come away with something more meaningful.
Don't get me wrong, this book isn't really all about them. It's sometimes about getting off with anything that moves and exposing every taboo. It's about counterpoints between consenting adults who are just in it for fun, those who have zero tolerance for affection, those who are in it only until the going gets rough, and those who find a little more meaning in a new connection beyond a quick shag, and it's the latter that kept me reading. Other erotica books like Captive in the Dark left me numb; The Angel left me apathetic, and Fifty Shades of Grey left me guffawing like a madwoman. Hidden Paradise touched me emotionally (ok, it may have touched a few other places, too), made me cry, and made me smile again.
It also made me want a two-week trip to England and a farm with an unobstructed view of the Rockies, but that's neither here nor there.
*I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.
Visit the author online at www.janetmullany.com and follow her on Twitter @janet_mullany
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