Review: Trouble in Paradise by Carolyn Brown

Posted December 21, 2023 by Sophia Rose in Contemporary Romance, Rating A, Reviews Tags: , , , ,

Book cover of Trouble in Paradise by Carolyn BrownTrouble in Paradise
Carolyn Brown
Reviewer: Sophia Rose
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

With Paradise for Christmas getting set to release, I was brought to mind that I had an older book on the shelves that told the origin story for the new series. With delight, I dusted it off and settled in for a sparkling holiday romance in the country with a middle-aged pair who missed their chance in high school and need the matchmaking efforts of seven sisters to bring about a second chance.

Mary Jane got burned badly when her husband of many years threw over her and her girls for a younger, richer model, so she’s in no mood for the attraction that flairs up when she catches sight of an old high school crush who is her one chance of getting her new home purchase remodeled and livable by Christmas.

For Joe Clay, Mary Jane was the one who got away, but mostly because she didn’t believe he was interested in her in the first place. He carried a torch for her from grade school, high school, and it followed him into the military special forces. He wishes he could break through her bitter tie to her past marriage. But, he’s not alone in his Christmas wish because the girls are all on his side, and Mary Jane doesn’t stand a chance.

This was a fast read, and the romance conflict was a simple one. Basically, Mary Jane had to get out of her own way. I loved her dearly for being a mom, a successful career woman, and even for being dead set again another man because she put her heart out there the first time. But, she also had self-esteem issues that carried over from high school because she didn’t see her own beauty and attractiveness so she could never understand what handsome, athletic and confident Joe Clay saw in her, and still doesn’t now that she has seven kids as a package deal.

My heart melted to see Joe Clay with all those girls and being the dad their own dad wasn’t even though he didn’t imagine he’d be sticking around after Christmas. And, they adored him from the start even when he tried to act a crabby bachelor handyman.

Trouble in Paradise is a lovely holiday story, but it starts in the summer and winds its way to climax at Christmas rather than be completely set in the Christmas season. Still, it had the tone and holidays were prominent especially the crisis and climax times.

A wonderful set up for the next books which will feature those cute, sassy sisters all grown up and dealing with their own lives and romances.  Definitely recommend starting here with the book that started it all.

My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot
Sophia Rose

About the Book:

After her divorce, bestselling romance author Mary Jane Marsh Simmons decided to move all seven of her girls out of the big city and back home to her hometown, Nacona, Texas. So when the last remaining relative of Miz Raven died and the Paradise was put on the market, she bought it, an old house that had been a brothel during the cattle trial days in Spanish Fort, Texas.

Joe Clay Carter had just retired from twenty years in the Marines, Special Forces. He’d lived through wars and rumors of wars and decided to go home to Nacona to do nothing but play poker, draw his retirement check and enjoy life. Two weeks later he was bored stiff, his motel room closing in on him, and he was seriously thinking of reenlisting until old high school crush, Mary Jane, came to his door asking him to remodel her new house.

As teenagers Mary Jane never gave Joe Clay a second glance, so he was surprised by her offer. Immediately they shook on the deal and he moved into her house to get started. Much to his surprise, the house came filled to the roof with little girls, good food, and crazy conversation, all wrapped up in a house that needed a minor miracle to fix by Christmas. He wasn’t sure if he could get it done in time but he was willing to try. If only Mary Jane was willing to give him a chance too.

Release Date: December 18, 2012
Sisters in Paradise #0.5
Contemporary Romance, Western
paperback (190 pages), e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)