- Format: Paperback 709 pages
- Published: 01 October 2006
- Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
- ISBN 13: 9780671776800
- ISBN 10: 0671776800
- Source: Bought it myself
In an apple core (The Bookworm’s version of a nutshell)
Forbidden love never read so good. If you only have time to read one good romance, Paradise is at the top of my recommendation list.
Ruthless corporate raider Matthew Farrell was poised to move in on the legendary department store empire owned by Chicago's renowned Bancroft family. In the glare of the media spotlight, it was a stunning takeover that overshadowed the electric chemistry between Matt, once a scruffy kid from steel town Indiana, and cool, sophisticated Meredith Bancroft. Their brief, ill-fated marriage sparked with thrilling sensuality -- he was the outsider who dared to rock her country club world -- and ended with a bitter betrayal. Now, locked in a battle that should be all business, dangerous temptations and bittersweet memories are stirring their hearts. Will they risk everything on a passion too bold to be denied?
To me, the book's summary does this beautiful love story absolutely no justice. Judith McNaught's books have gotten me through thick and thin over the last decade and are dear to my heart. And at over 700 pages, this is quite the romance tome. You get to grow up with these characters and follow them through their challenges and share their emotions. Paradise is about a man who came from nothing, rising to the top of the world (or Chicago at least) who was scorned and is now out for some payback. Yet love gets in the way and like most cases, complicates things. It is about how these two lovers defy the odds set in front of them from the time of their meeting. Is their love meant to be? Or will they be pulled apart by unexpected forces.
Matthew Farrell had big dreams. Dreams of making it big and providing his loved ones with a life worth living. He started out as a lowly steel worker cum part-time mechanic, getting by on hard work and smarts alone. Matt is the epitome of sizzle and charm. His character is like the stone walls of Troy, yet once broken, is like sugar and spice and a fountain of everything nice. The beginning of the end starts with his short-lived marriage to Meredith Bancroft, shortened even more due to some meddling he is hopeless to defend against. Now, he is out for vengeance and his dreams of becoming a better man are put to the test. With trust and honesty being immensely important to him, the betrayal of a loved one is like a jagged knife to the heart. Can he forgive the past and turn his future into paradise?
Meredith Bancroft is the typical platinum blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauty. Except she really isn't as she is the heir to a huge, profitable departmental store. I don't know of any young girls who has not wished she could shop in her very own store, but Meredith can, and does. She was not always the beautiful swan she is known to be as a grown-up. The book follows her from her youth, when she was still a gawky wee little thing who on the surface, seemed to have it all, even though it was far from the truth. Meredith's character is one we can sympathize with as she goes through misunderstanding after misunderstanding. Her life is made more colourful by the presence of her school friend Lisa, a direct opposite of Meredith's character in every way. She has also been in love with the same person since youth, creating further complications in her future life. Meredith's character is smart and bright yet is always sheltered from the truth, leading her into some very sticky situations. In order to achieve paradise, she has to gamble and decide where her heart truly lies.
Philip Bancroft is Meredith's meddling father. He always does what he thinks is best for her, although it may not always be the case nor the best thing to do. This is one character you just love to hate. His character is thick with suspicion and makes him take offense at everything that is different. As president of Bancroft's, he is wary of anyone he thinks is trying to crawl their way into the company or his family life.
The other secondary characters in this book are a lot of fun and pretty well-rounded. They add some great layers to the story. I also liked that Judith McNaught incorporated the tough business world in this book. You get a sense of what it takes to become a big player in the real world. I also loved how Matt drizzled his conversations with business and some betting talk.
This is the Ultimate Modern Day Love Story and is still one of my favourite books. Looking at things, it will be one forever. If you have not read any of Judith McNaught's books before, I say, this is a good place to start!
WARNING: There is sex and sprinklings of mild language in this book so please note that this should only be read by those 18+.
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