I suspect my feelings on Meet Me in Paradise by Libby Hubscher would be more positive if I’d known what I was getting into when I cracked open the virtual spine.
See, here’s the thing. Suggesting a “heart-wrenching truth” in a synopsis that also mentions rom-com like hijinks such as a missed flight, mixed up luggage, and landing in a hot guy’s lap isn’t enough to tell me as a reader that this book is actually a full-on tear-jerker.
This isn’t the author’s fault, but I’m left feeling angry that the book I felt I was promised is not the book I read. If I’d wanted a tear-jerker, I would have picked one up. This sort-of misleading marketing is frustrating at best, and I really wish publishers would stop trying to trick me into reading a book that isn’t actually a rom-com.
So I’ll add the disclosure that I don’t actually like tear-jerkers. I am very rarely in the mood for them, and I’m especially not in the mood for them after a year of living in a pandemic, raising twin babies without any help outside our household, and missing my friends and family. So once I realized (over 50% of the way in) that this book was NOT going to be a fun, fluffy romp through paradise, I got angry.
That said, I was already struggling to connect with the supposed romance in this book. We know so little about Lucas Tsai, and I never felt any real chemistry between him and Marin. A good hero should make ME fall in love with him just like the heroine does, and while I didn’t dislike Lucas, I never felt connected or attached to him in anyway. The romance aspect of this book just felt sort of forced, and I didn’t really buy into it.
If you don’t care about the romance, this book is really more about one woman finding herself, facing grief (both old and new), and about the bond between sisters. The synopsis from the publisher (which I’ll post below) isn’t the best snapshot of what to expect; but if sad stories about family is your cup of tea, maybe this book will work for you. It didn’t work for me.
Meet Me in Paradise is available March 23rd. Here is the official (albeit misleading) synopsis:
Marin Cole has never:
Seen the ocean
Climbed a mountain
Taken a risk on love
….But if her sister’s plan works, she just might do all three.
Ever since her journalist mother died on assignment, Marin has played it safe, refusing to set foot outside the state of Tennessee. Her wild-child younger sister, Sadie, has trotted the globe as a photographer, living off of art and adrenaline.
When Sadie returns from a tough assignment abroad and looks a little worse for wear, Marin reluctantly agrees to a sisters’ spa weekend on the tropical island of Saba. But her lifelong fear of travel is affirmed when Sadie misses the flight, Marin’s luggage gets mixed up with another passenger’s, and an episode of turbulence sends her hurtling into the lap of Lucas Tsai, the handsome stranger who stole her sister’s seat.
For the first time in a long time, Marin has to step outside of her comfort zone as she explores the island with Lucas and learns what she’s been missing out on. With each breathtaking new experience, Marin gets closer to her real self, the man she’s falling for, and the heart-wrenching truth about why she’s there in the first place.