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misfitandmom

misfitandmom

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Mistress of Paradise by Marcella Thum

MISTRESS OF PARADISE - Marcella Thum

Before I get into the actual review of this book, I present my case for why you should never ever judge a book by its cover, let alone the description written by the idjit publishers. By looking at the cover one might assume that it's a sexed up romance, perhaps with hot sex on the beach? Wrong - while there is a strong romantic element and there are sex scenes (fairly tame), there is no sex on the beach. Not once.

Now let's look at the book description on the back:

"At her first glance of the wealthy Keith Stewart, her desire rose unbidden, boundless and exciting."

OK, in a way that is correct, but in another way it isn't. You see, Lani is fourteen years old when she first sets eyes on Keith. So yeah, she's hot for him but in a puppy-love kind of way.

"...Adam who refused to help her hold on to her ranch, Adam who captured her secret desire, who awakened a passion she never knew she had - and who then cruelly turned away..."

It makes it sound like he used her and dumped her, doesn't it? Can't spoil with details, but I'm telling you that doesn't happen. I would guess that many a potential reader has picked this up in the bargain bins, taken one look at the cover, stuck their noses in the air and sniffed "bodice ripper" and walked away. Hate to say it, but you can miss out on a good book with an attitude like that. To be fair, I actually was in the mood for a brain candy romance when I picked this up, but was pleasantly surprised to find something completely different inside.

So let's talk about the book, which is set in Hawaii in the early 1890s. Lani Tucker is descended from an early missionary family (although her mother was Hawaiian), a family that went on to build a great business empire. Her parents dead, Lani is first left in the care of her Uncle Daniel, until a series of events after a bad night at the gambling table makes her the ward of Adam Stewart. There are three Stewart brothers, all handsome, but oldest Keith is the one Lani sets her sights on, not realizing what a womanizing all around bad boy he is. And there's serious trouble brewing when Lani grows up and none of the Stewart boys can resist her charms...

While there is a strong romantic element in this book, the author also involved Lani and the Stewart brothers in a tumultuous period in Hawaii's history as forces plot to overthrow the Hawaiian monarchy and annex the islands to the United States. This was a good solid read for me, and I frankly had a hard time putting it down; and one I would recommend to those who like a bit more historical detail in their romances. There is a book that precedes this story, Jasmine, about Lani's grandparents. It looks like the author has written several other historical romances, and I think I might hunt down a few of them for a looksee.