Book Review: Paradise Cove

Last weekend, I read Paradise Cove as part of a read-along with Melanie. In the novel, Dr. Nora Walsh moves from Toronto to the tiny town of Moonflower Bay in the aftermath of a painful breakup. She plans to stay in town for only a couple of years, but there are compelling reasons for her to stay longer, including her developing chemistry with local fisherman/fix-it-man Jake Ramsey.

The book: Paradise Cove by Jenny Holiday
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I enjoyed this book in much the same way that I enjoy Hallmark movies. The story is set in the (fictional) small town of Moonflower Bay, Canada, where everyone knows everyone and the elders love to gossip and meddle in the young adults’ affairs. The town reminded me of Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls, and like Stars Hollow, Moonflower Bay worked so much for me because I so badly wanted it to be real!

To continue with the Hallmark movie comparison, I thought that the key elements of the romance in this story were great. From the meet-cute in a hair salon, to the town emergency that forces Nora and Jake into each others’ lives, to their undeniable chemistry despite their firm assertions that they don’t have time for romance – it was all very compelling.

I do think that Paradise Cove offers a bit more than just an indulgent, escapist romance, however. Nora and Jake’s relationship is built not only on lust, but also on their deep emotional connection and their ability to listen to and support each other. Jake supports Nora by helping her with the chores that her demanding career makes it hard for her to keep up with, and Nora supports Jake by being an excellent active listener as he processes a traumatic event from his past with her. For all the time spent on Jake and Nora’s sexual chemistry, Holiday spends just as much time (if not more) focusing on their emotional intimacy.

Both protagonists also have meaningful relationships besides their romantic relationship with each other. Nora has an incredibly sweet relationship with her sister and grandmother, and she also makes fast friends with the residents of Moonflower Bay. Jake has lifelong friends in Moonflower Bay, who accept his need for lots of personal space, but also intervene when they recognize he is making self-destructive decisions. By giving both protagonists healthy friendships and familial relationships outside of their romance, Holiday shows that friendships and romantic relationships are not mutually exclusive – a message that I really appreciated.

I only had a few small issues with Paradise Cove. One was that the writing felt a bit cliched at times. There is one scene where Nora is feeling insecure about her ability to satisfy Jake sexually, and he thinks “Someone should just reach into [my] chest and pull [my] heart out right now. Stomp on it and throw it in the trash. Because this woman thought she was not sexy.” My other issue was some of the language used in the sex-scenes – language like “burrowed through her folds” – which not only felt actively unsexy, but was also vague and conceptually confusing.

Overall, though, I enjoyed Paradise Cove. It was easy to set aside the small issues when, on the whole, this novel was so heartwarming and bingeable. There’s another novel in the same series as Paradise Cove, plus a new novel in the series coming out in 2021 – I will most likely read them both based on my experience with Paradise Cove.

Author: Hannah Celeste

Hi! I'm Hannah, a book-blogger from the Northeastern United States. I enjoy reading many genres, cooking and baking, doing yoga, and spending time with my two cats.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: Paradise Cove”

    1. Even though I’m the one who kicked off the read-along, I don’t read a lot of romance. I get tired of how sexy everyone is or how fake their relationships feel. Although I went into Paradise Cove eagerly to offset the doom and gloom novels the book community has been reading lately, I was surprised to find a talented writer whose work made me happy and think, too. As I look more into romance as a genre, I will DNF really fast if it’s not working, because when it doesn’t work, it’s hideous.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I also really enjoyed how Nora brings a vaccine campaign to Moonflower Bay. Jenny Holiday doesn’t push aside real-life concerns and focus only on the romance, and I like that. I finished Mermaid Inn last night and enjoyed it, though the author didn’t dive as well into the more serious issues, such as Sawyer’s father’s past as an aggressive alcoholic. I think she must have learned, because Paradise Cove kicked it up a notch. I still enjoyed myself and especially getting to know Maya, who will be the lead in book 3!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s such a great point! I don’t think I appreciated enough all the issues Holiday covers in this book while I was reading it. But now that you mention it, I’m thinking about how she also highlighted the importance of safe/consensual sex, and moving on healthily from past traumas! That’s great that the commentary improved in this series – hopefully that means we can probably expect it in book 3 as well 🙂

      Like

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