Nice and tidy happy endings always come with a price tag. The price? The hard work that often comes with anything that’s worth having. So when a blind date leads to passion, romance, marriage and an instant family you know there will be some rough spots along the way. In Jennifer Greene’s new contemporary romance, Trouble in Paradise , Susan and Griff realize that they’d been waiting for each other most of their lives. And despite the fact that Griff is eleven years older, divorced, the devoted father of three and they’ve only known each other for all of three months, they embark on a life together. After all, doesn’t love conquer all?
Well if love conquers all it sure gets a lot of help from patience, communication and understanding. Trouble in Paradise is about the life of a newly married young woman who is very much in love with her husband. His love for her is just as strong. With her, he has found what he never had in his thirteen years of marriage to his ex-wife; someone who shares his morals, beliefs, hopes and dreams. For Susan, marrying and merging her life with Griff is wonderful, but when you add to the mix becoming a stepmother you have a recipe for some serious complications and soul-searching. When I first picked up this book I thought it would be a fun read with lots of crazy antics between Susan and her new stepchildren. It wasn’t that at all. In fact it was a bit more emotionally complex.
In Susan, we find a heroine who feels the need to be all things to all people. Sound like a familiar feeling? I think all of us at some point in time have felt that same feeling. Unfortunately, trying to be ‘superwoman’ can have disastrous results, one of them being burn out. Asking for help is a thing that many women have a hard time doing. Sometimes we feel we must be all things for all the people in our lives. Let’s face, it just ain’t so. And that’s Susan’s dilemma. Her love knows no bounds, it’s limitless. In her effort to get to know, love and nurture Griff’s children she places herself in the untenable position of being last and having no boundaries. The children test her at every turn and she feels she has to bend just so they know that she’ll always come up loving them. The children have their own issues, being from a divorced family with a mother who hasn’t been much of a mother – but is still their mother- causes divided loyalties which wreaks havoc on the kids. Of course there’s Griff, trying to make it all work, but with his busy schedule, his concern for his children and Susan trying to be super wife and super mom, he has no clue what’s really going on in under his own roof. See. I told you this wasn’t your ‘crazy antics romantic comedy’. Instead what we have is a look into the creation of a new family with five distinct personalities trying to find out how they fit together. It takes hard work to make a family. It’s especially difficult if you’re the new member of an already established one. Reading about this family gave me an appreciation for how rewarding it is when it does work.
So dear reader, here’s to all those stepmoms out there – for all you do and the way that you do it. It can’t be easy, but if you’re anything like Susan in Trouble in Paradise, the rewards are worth the effort.
Until next Monday, remember, there’s a book waiting to be read.