Ten Days in Paradise

By Linda Abbott

 

Ten Days in ParadiseBook Blurb

Vacationing on beautiful Sanibel Island off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Ellen Bennett has never felt so guilty—or more alive.

This wasn’t the way things were supposed to turn out. The 45-year-old successful career woman, wife and mother traveled to the island paradise for solitude and a much-needed break from her family. But a chance encounter with a fellow traveler sparks a powerful attraction, forcing Ellen to make a decision that could change her life forever.

Against an idyllic backdrop of white sand beaches, azure waters and lush palms, Ellen struggles to subdue a firestorm of emotions. David, the father of three young children, confronts the fault lines in his own marriage that lead to a stunning revelation.

Their relationship unfolds as David’s family gathers on Sanibel to celebrate his parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Tensions are running high. David’s mother is worried about her husband’s strange behavior and inexplicable memory lapses. His sisters, Julia, an over-achieving corporate exec, and Maggie, a hard-partying renegade who just announced she’s gay and leaving her husband, haven’t spoken for months.

On the island, a small congregation battles to save a beloved seaside chapel to make room for a lavish oceanfront mansion. Ellen takes up the cause when she meets 76-year-old Liz Taylor, a vivacious widow with a sparkling wit and a secret passion of her own.

Linda Abbott’s love for Sanibel Island shines throughout Ten Days in Paradise, a compelling and heartfelt novel that masterfully explores the inner landscapes of marriage and family relationships.

My Review

TEN DAYS IN PARADISE is Linda Abbott’s debut novel.  Uncharacteristically for me, I found it difficult to “get into” the book. It took about until about chapter 39 (half way through the book) before I felt connected to the story.  However, I am happy I stayed with it, because the second half was a very enjoyable read.

What I liked – The story centered on David’s family gathering to celebrate his parents’ 50th anniversary on Florida’s Sanibel Island. Even though there were differences between David’s sisters Julia and Maggie, David played mediator all the while he and his wife Marianne were at odds over how to raise their children. There was also a huge amount of personal time given by Ellen using her resources and knowledge to help save the chapel.  When the story came together, I found that the characters had found a way to resolve their challenges, though you may be surprised at the outcome.

What I didn’t like – I felt there were too many characters and subplots, and I would have preferred to concentrate on fewer people and fewer issues.  With so much going on, it would have been better for me, if the author had concentrated on just a few of the subplots, and saved the rest for development in another book.

Since my likes outweigh dislikes, I am giving this book three and a half stars.

White Birch Publishing (indie published)

Publication Date: December 3, 2014

344 pages, available as a paperback, Kindle eBook, audio book

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Fiction

To read a sample chapter, click on the following link:

http://www.tendaysinparadise.com/assets/ten-days-in-paradise-first-chapter.pdf

About the AuthorLinda Abbott, author, Ten Days In Paradise

Linda Abbott’s love for Sanibel Island shines through her debut novel, Ten Days In Paradise. Though she worked for many years as a professional writer–first as an award-winning journalist and then in public relations–Linda is a late bloomer to fiction. She found the muse while vacationing on Sanibel, where she wrote the opening chapters of her novel. Linda’s writing career took another turn last year when she founded Never Forget Legacies & Tributes to write life storybooks for individuals and families. She feels blessed to have two new careers and can’t wait to get started on her next novel. A Chicago native, she lives in Middleton, Wisconsin with her husband.

Author Links

Website: www.TenDaysInParadise.comTwitterLinkedIn

To purchase the book: Amazon

The Rooms are Filled by Jessica Null Vealitzek

The Rooms Are FilledMichael is the adopted son of John and Anne Nygaard and loves his life on his parents’ Minnesota farm. Then one day, the unthinkable happened. Michael’s dad collapses and dies and Michael’s mother has no choice but to sell the farm and move to Ackermann, Illinois where a job at her brother’s restaurant is waiting for her.

When they arrive in Ackermann, Michael has a difficult time making friends – he is the new kid, and the target of the 4th grade bully.  He is befriended by another loner.  Tina is in 6th grade and goes to the junior high. She lives across the street from Michael, and they become close friends, even though her moodiness bothers Michael. He doesn’t understand why she is nice to him one minute, and mean the next.

Michael’s teacher Julia Parnell has observed the bullying, but is powerless to do anything because there is no school policy against it. She befriends Michael, and they form a close friendship.  When Anne is asked to work Saturday’s, she asks Julia if Michael could stay with her during her shift.

Michael is drowning in his grief but can’t talk to his mother about it because he doesn’t want to make her sad. He misses his dad tremendously and dreams of talking with him.  His life was so much simpler with his dad, the farm, his chores, and his friends. Would his life here ever feel the same? Would he ever be accepted?  When each child had to tell something interesting about his life, Michael revealed that he was adopted. The other students treated him meanly, and he was even more ostracized.

No one knows Julia is running from her past, but when it catches up with her, will it affect her job, her relationship with Michael and her other students?  Julia has been best friends with Rose since they were young girls. A towns person knew someone from Julia’s past, and before long, rumors were spreading.  Her lesson plans had the word Homo written in bold black letters on them. It was hard enough to figure out who she was without others’ bigotries getting in the way.

There is a lot going on in this book, and a lot of prejudice and resentment.  Will each character be able to solve their personal conflicts?

I loved THE ROOMS ARE FILLED. It is a quick read, but a complex storyline. I fell in love with the characters of Michael and Julia and was rooting for them all the way. Jessica Null Vealitzek writes with enthusiasm and passion. She has woven the lives and problems of various characters into an intensely captivating tale. I highly recommend this book.

Learn more about Jessica:

Author Page Jessica Null Vealitzek

Blog True Stories

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To buy her book on Amazon THE ROOMS ARE FILLED