What’s in a name? Not necessarily the truth, obviously. Lockdown is over but in the meantime, Lisa lost her job and her girlfriend and can’t really afford to stay in London while she tries to turn her life around. Benidorm it is, then. Paradise Hotel may be all-inclusive but Heaven it is not. Dingy rooms, bland food, and staff who insist she has fun with all the other drunk British tourists when all Lisa wants is to be left alone. Enter Stella, the poolside manager…
So far, I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by Lise Gold a lot. I love travelling with her characters around the world – Spain this time – and I’m a big fan of her descriptions of sounds and colours and food. Her most recent books however didn’t carry me away as much as previous ones. I liked them but I stayed on the surface. With this one, though, I found again most of what I loved in Eastern Nights or The Scent of Rome.
I don’t remember complaining about too many intimate scenes before, and I’m not really complaining today either, but I did feel not all of them were necessary, especially in the first half. And there’s one that completely forced me out of my reading but as often when it comes to sex, it has more to do with this reader than with either the book or the way these scenes are written. I enjoy Lise Gold’s alter ego Madeleine Taylor‘s erotica books too much to have anything other than praise for most of them.
When the story begins, Lisa fits the grumpy character bill. Stella is too much of a professional to be all sunshine but the contrast between the two works well. It comes not so much from the differences in personality (even though these exist too) as from where both women are in life. Stella loves her job despite the state of decrepitude and all lockdown made more difficult, she loves her team, she loves her apartment and her cats. She’s a pretty happy person. Lisa, on the other hand, is trying to bounce back from a rather dark place. She’s not where she wants to be, either geographically speaking or in life. Which makes her character’s evolution more interesting and satisfying, even if Stella is a sweetheart.
Welcome to Paradise is the first book in the Resort Series. The author introduces a couple of side characters who could be mains in future books, but I’m not sure what her plans are. I’m curious to see where she takes us next…
I’ll end this review on a note that’s not specific to this book. I’m getting more and more frustrated with ratings. What’s a 4⭐️ for me might be a 2⭐️ or a 5⭐️ for someone else. And I might rate a book super high right after reading only to realise six months later that I don’t remember what it was about at all. The opposite is true too, I’ll give 4⭐️ to a book that’s still on my mind months later. Whereas I usually still agree with what I wrote even after a long time has passed.
What I’m saying is, read the words. Look at the stars because they’re pretty, but they won’t tell you much. The words however don’t lie. What the rating means is that this book is a 4⭐️ for me today. Just for me and maybe just today.