by Liz Ireland, historical (2000)
Harlequin Historical, $4.99, ISBN 0-373-29130-2
Liz Ireland's historical romances tend to take place at odd, backwater areas populated by eccentric, kooky people, and Trouble In Paradise is no different. The whole premise is based on a very shaky plot foundation, but nonetheless, Roy McMillan and Ellie Fitzsimmons put a smile on my face at the end of the day.
Ellie is in a fix. She is pregnant with her employer's son's child, and her employer, a snooty snobby woman, dismisses her right away. Nowhere to go, Ellie decides it's time to start a new life in - oh, maybe Paradise, Nebraska, where her pen pal Parker McMillan lives? She could use a friend in a time in need, after all.
But while Parker is sweet, romantic, and all fluff and air, his brother Roy isn't too pleased with Ellie's presence. She turns his well-ordered life upside down. That woman is no good, he could feel it in his bones - his no-good brother Parker would fall for her and those two ninnies would end up Hurt and Feeling Betrayed. Roy, the Sensible Man of the house, will make sure this lady won't mess with his brother, no indeed.
Well, soon Roy is the one casting lovelorn glances at our charming miss, and he doesn't like it one bit. I can see why he falls for Ellie, though - she's exuberant, fun, and she exhibits a love for life that not only makes Roy topsy-turvy, she makes the whole town fall in love with her. Oh, the Baby matter cause some problems, of course, but no matter - everything gets solved in a nice, sweet manner that seems apt rather than gratuitously saccharine.
And I do adore Roy. There's nothing more fun that seeing a man who keeps trying not to, no way, no no no, fall for the lady but too bad, he's going down. Yet he is never cruel to Ellie in his grumpiness. Ellie, on her part, is understandable reluctant to love so soon after her last scumbag. But when she realizes that she's in love with Roy, she embraces the feeling completely. No unnecessary shrieking or prolonged self-pity from her.
So, how the heck could she get seduced by a scumbag in the first place? Ellie's intelligent - no matter how inexperienced or passionate she can be, I can't see her falling for her ex's charms. I do wonder.
Trouble In Paradise makes falling in love fun. Sure, it sometimes dips into predictability, but all in all, it bounces with fun, laughter, and romance.
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