Skip to main content

Paradise House - A Lousy Book Review

Have you ever wanted to:

  • search for your future by running a Bed and Breakfast country hotel of your own?
  • heal yourself from a dyslexic past and a broken heart by taking on responsibilities of two sisters, one who shirks all responsibilities (Nattie) and the other who dreams and sings all day (Polly)
  • get out of the rut called routine and do something drastically different with your life other than run a country hotel?
  • run away from being the shoulder that everyone cries on?
Welcome to Erica James' idyllic setting in "Paradise House", a novel that showcases three sisters with remarkably distinct characters, whose father is a kind, compassionate man and thinks only of bringing happiness to his family, even when his dreamy wife leaves him to 'take a break' for a year or two in New Zealand. There are times you may wonder if a man can be so complacent about the troubles in his family.

To be honest, most characters in the novel except the bratty, saucy Nattie, are so complacent, boring and laid back that I struggled to force myself to read the book. The first few chapters of this book were awful. I think I was drugged when I forced myself to read through those chapters. It looked like an amateurish draft, describing Genevieve's sad life, surroundings, friends, family, and a broken love affair. All information is doled out like you would read in a textbook. There is no feeling or powerful rendering that could have made it so much more meaningful and interesting to a reader. A lot of characters in the book were truly unnecessary because a reader like me had no clue who's important and who's not.

Lily Rose, a four year old girl, and Gran, the outspoken grandmother breathe life into this otherwise predictable plot. The protagonists, Genevieve and Christian, are predictably boring. I don't know why an author would even create protagonists like that. At the same time, Adam, a supporting character who tries too hard to win over saucy Nattie, stands out impressively. He is rich, made fortunes out of dilapidated caravans and wears the wrong, garish printed ties with all his rich, classy suits. This is the character that made me want to read the boring book because I really wanted to know whether he gets the love of his life or he gets more than the unpredictable route the author seems to have decided for him.

I don't know what kind of books you like to read but I do know that this book is definitely not something you would consider as a pleasant, predictable beach read. It is just about three lovely women who struggle to find independence in their lives and follow a very predictable way of finding it in a village setting.

It's exactly the kind of book I usually avoid because its so typical, boring and lackluster. There is just nothing to look forward to or enjoy thoroughly. By the time I was half-way through, I was sleepy more than absorbed. Some of the characters are so lifeless that I wanted to cry for them and beg the author to give them more substance.

Perhaps, I am too ambitious as a reader. I expect a novel to grip my attention and interest from the first chapter itself. I expect the characters, big or small, to have life that means a lot to me, as a reader. I suppose an author's idea of portraying characters is different.

I also found the Erica James' writing style quite annoying at most times. There was simply no flow to the book. The reader had to somehow flow with the boring plot. What made this novel truly forgettable is that the author, in every sentence of this book, tells the reader what to think, whom to like, and so on with narrative descriptions and not let a reader draw his/her own conclusions.

Still, I've got to confess, I read on because I felt I should give this novel a fair chance. I hoped that somewhere the author would surprise the reader but unfortunately, that stroke of luck never happened. By the time I was finishing the book, I somehow wanted to throw up because it was so painful and pointless to read on. My thought was: How can an author kill the plot and the characters so passively?

So overall, I recommend that if you see this book, please read it at your own risk of total boredom. This is no romance worth spending your time on, this is no family saga that will grip you and by the end of it, you are likely to wonder how an author could kill the plot and characterisation with such amazing, consistent pace. Maybe, you can think of a few boring books that you struggled to read and how you felt about it.

Till then, Happy Reading.

Comments

Shri said…
First time here..Great blog!I come across very few writings/musings blog, at least in my search for other good food blogs.Loved your review of the book!
Rohit said…
hehee..Swapna ..its especially reading books like that that you wish the bookstore or the author could provide any money back gaurentee!!..but tell you what..going by what you have mentioned regarding the plot..I actually like it ..the plot that is. But as yu said, dosen't take much to kill the plot either ..
Sarbear said…
It's a shame we can't love every book, huh? I had one of these recently. Thanks for the honesty.
GentleLavender said…
@Abdul: Thanks a ton. Its great to hear you liked my blog. Hope you will visit again and share your suggestions.

@Shri: Thanks very much. I am really happy that you liked my blog and the book review. Do visit whenever you can and share your comments and feedback, would definitely love to hear from you.

@Rohit: Hey, Rohit, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are right, the plot had potential if it had been executed with some level of technique. I think the boring style of writing truly killed the plot. You are right in pointing that out. Do visit again and share your thoughts about forthcoming posts. See you soon.
manchitra said…
Lovely post .How I wish there were at least half a dozen people like you who would write such an interesting review of a supposedly dragging book which would make book lovers like me stretch their budgets for buying books for the most effective limit.Continue with your reviews .
Thanks for blog rolling me .I am also blog rolling you.
GentleLavender said…
Thanks so much for blog rolling me, Manchitra. I am glad this post is useful to book lovers like you. I look forward to getting more comments and feedback from you soon.
GentleLavender said…
@Sarbear: Its nice to be complimented for honesty, considering the times we live in. Seriously, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Hope to hear more comments from you soon.
Raaga said…
first time here... and I am glad you dropped by my space... so I could come to yours. :)

I like the way you've reviewed the book. :)

Most Popular Posts

Why chant Ramayana during the month of Karkidakam

For Keralites across the world who follow the Malayalam calendar, today marks the beginning of the month of Karkidakam. This month, which, decades ago, was known and slightly feared for its torrential rains and negative impact on the health, wealth and well being of Kerala's rural community. 
Why chant Ramayana during Karkidakam To ward off the negative energy unleashed by Nature and its possible repercussions on one's family's overall well being, the wise elders introduced the timeless tradition of every family reading the Ramayana as an oral, spiritual tradition. Thus, it goes without saying that for Keralites who embrace these traditions, the act of reading the Ramayana is as much a spiritual cleansing as it is a kind of tradition they can pass on to bond with their loved family members, particularly children.
In the Ramayana, there is no 'preaching of principles' but you are taken through the Avatar's journey as a human being. Lord Rama depicts how a man shoul…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

Mahadmrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra nee

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. Do read my post: Does Mahamrityunajaya mantra really work?Of course, it does but you need to undertstand the meaning and significance of the mantra first.
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. [ Do READ: THE POWER OF LOVE]
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he becam…

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

Many years ago, when I wrote this post on Kerala's caste system, I had not considered that I would receive such online abuse for writing this or that I would be seen as some one who was trying to insult other castes. The intention of writing is always to share an experience or a perspective, not to insult others.  My experience of motherhood and marriage would be different from yours. When I write about my experience, it is illogical to abuse me because our journeys are entirely different narratives. My life and yours are not the same at any given point of time.

My question is - why do you ABUSE any caste or person here? You are free to disagree but why do you ABUSE? How does that reflect on YOU?

In my article, I shared what trials I went through, without any intention to insult any community.A new book 'Ants among Elephants' written by Sujatha Gidla, who writes about herself as being born 'an untouchable in India' teaches you everything you probably want to know abo…

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! 

[DO READ: The POWER OF LOVE]

Earth Angels have amazing superpowers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions and  becoming invisible at will.
[MUST READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in …

How to travel with family and create the coziest memories ever!

I know I haven't been blogging as often as I wanted to at the start of this year but so many things are happening in my life, like travel. For a working mom like me, the last time I traveled with my family.....is like ages ago. I do travel but mostly on my own and given the kind of school and work schedules that we have to balance out, it usually doesn't happen that we take a break for summer holidays as a family. Let me confess that it's pretty rare, which is why 2018 has been amazing for me. I got to travel with my family....yay!
Okay, so back to earth with a big bang, shall we?  
First, we headed to Gangtok, in Sikkim, via Siliguri in West Bengal. We had a fabulous time. My love for travel got a real boost, just as it used to in my childhood days, when my parents used to take us to different places during our summer vacations.
For me, the joys of travel have nothing to do with seeing new places, as it does with the fun-filled conversations we have with ourselves and the pe…

Book Review: Nan Umrigar's Sounds of Silence, A Bridge Across Two Worlds

The year 1978 was a glorious one for Karl Umrigar – a young man who won many prestigious horse races, including the Indian 2000 Guineas and the Indian Oakes. Finally, Karl Umrigar fulfilled his dream – every jockey’s dream– to win the Indian Derby. His name remains in the Indian Derby scroll of honour. 
But just at exactly the moment Karl won, he fell from the horse.  A fall that finally saw the country mourn for him when the headlines of the Indian Express read, “The King is Dead.” Karl Umrigar, the young champion and loved by many, was laid to rest on May 3, 1979.
Karl Umrigar’s Death: Bridge between Two Worlds You can imagine what Karl’s death did to his family, particularly his mother – Nan Umrigar. She says, “Nothing could have prepared us for the darkness that descended upon us – nothing!
While her family tried to pull on with daily routine, Nan Umrigar found herself in such a state of agony and trauma that she couldn’t resume a normal life. She couldn’t let go of her son.
She heard…

Top 10 Skincare tips for Summer

Come summer, and we women worry a lot about how the sun lashes out on our skin. True, skincare tips for the summer are plenty but what about the hushed secrets - yes, those tried and tested family secrets that are passed on from mother to daughters? [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

FOLLOW MY BOARDS ON PINTEREST

Here are some that are totally easy to do. Best of all, these are effective and bring on a feel-good factor in the peak of summer.

1. Replace water with rosewater. It keeps your skin luminous and fragrant throughout the day. It's a good toner too.

2. Cleanse your skin by combining these ingredients - honey, milk, rosewater/rosepetals and turmeric. Add a dash of olive oil and yes, it feels wonderful.

3. Almond oil body baths are a must-have! You will smell delicious all day. This summer, skip all those body lotions & moisturizers! You will love the way almond oil pampers your skin all day!

4. Use a mixture of almond oil and olive oil for your fe…

Five ways to take charge of your anger

“It is wise to direct your anger towards problems -- not people; to focus your energies on answers -- not excuses.” ― William Arthur Ward
Every day, the newspaper headlines are full of scary stories of people killing each other over trivial things - mostly these incidents happen when individuals lose their temper and turn violent. In traffic jams across Noida in the evenings, people don't hesitate to walk out and hit each other.  At workplaces, colleagues lose their temper and say things that they regret later. During holidays with loved ones, small things set us off and we say things that damage relationships forever. No one stops anyone. Everyone likes a big, bad fight. It's great to vent. After all, what's the big deal about getting angry? After all, if you cannot express what pisses you off, how can you call yourself human? 


Does anger solve your problems? You know the answer!

If anger solved all the problems in the world, this world would have been a perfect place centur…

Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?

Many people ask me this question, ''Does Maha Mrityunjaya mantra work?''. Mantras always work but the problem is that we are often not open to believing this.  The query about whether the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra works comes in different forms, sometimes by email, in the comments section or in person. Most people are curious, some are interested but few are committed to sincerely want the answer.



I am just an ordinary seeker on the spiritual path but my experiences have taught me valuable lessons and I am sharing this with you so that it helps your spiritual progress.
From what I have learned from my grandmother, who was a devout Shiva Bhakt throughout her life, the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra is a powerful mantra that has ancient sounds which provides an aura of protection to those who chant it with faith regularly and it triggers powerful energies to remove sufferings and diseases. This is why Hindus believe that the one who chants the Maha Mrityunjaya mantra will be blesse…

Jodhpur travel: Ring in the New Year with Flying Fox adventure, Polo Grounds, a room without a roof & more

A part of me has always been a dreamer, a seeker, and a wanderer.Perhaps the way I grew up has something to do with this. Bright, blue sky, skin colored sand that you could melt into and blue waters that sparkled when you splashed it on your skin....ah, the magic of growing up in a place like Blantyre! It felt joyful when we chose to welcome the New Year by traveling to a new place together for the first time! I can't describe the delicious feeling of excitement that I felt when we reached Jodhpur. I love not to plan and travel to places just like that - it has its dangers but still......!



The real fun began when we went sightseeing! The spicy food (not to my son's liking - he doesn't like to eat anything with onions - which puts us in quite a difficult situation with most Indian dishes), the warmth and hospitality, the grand palaces, forts and there is so much I want to share with you about the moments I enjoyed, the people I made friends with and the experiences I had. 

Mo…