Are you looking for a new tropical read with a mystery at its core that will keep you guessing?

Today’s featured book, set on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, is one you won’t be able to put down once you dive into it.



Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and choose to buy something, it won’t cost you anything, but I’ll get an itsy bitsy commission as a thank you for sharing something cool with you.


beach reads island book Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand



The book: Winter in Paradise

Written by: Elin Hilderbrand

Originally published: 2018


I’ve seen Elin Hilderbrand’s bestselling books on shelves everywhere over the years. They always grab my eye because they often have the words “island” “beach” and “summer” in the titles, though I’ve never read one up until now because the island area they’re set in isn’t quite tropical; her books usually take place on her home island of Nantucket. This book, Winter in Paradise, is her first that’s set in the Caribbean.

According to the author’s note in the book, she’s been coming to stay on St. John for 5 weeks every spring to write since 2012. Jealous, much? I know I am. Setting up a self-led writer’s residence on that beautiful island sounds like a dream.

Her love of St. John and familiarity with the island comes through in this new book.


Irene Steele shares her idyllic life in a beautiful Iowa City Victorian house with a husband who loves her to sky-writing, sentimental extremes. But as she rings in the new year one cold and snowy night, everything she thought she knew falls to pieces with a shocking phone call: her beloved husband, away on business, has been killed in a plane crash. Before Irene can even process the news, she must first confront the perplexing details of her husband’s death on the distant Caribbean island of St. John.

After Irene and her sons arrive at this faraway paradise, they make yet another shocking discovery: her husband had been living a secret life. As Irene untangles a web of intrigue and deceit, and as she and her sons find themselves drawn into the vibrant island culture, they have to face the truth about their family, and about their own futures. – via Amazon


This novel is a fast-paced, easy read that would pair perfectly with your hammock. It’s entertaining to get inside the heads of the various characters as they interact – some seasoned islanders and some tourists.


Readers who will love this book:


Team St. John. The island of St. John has an almost cult-like following and once you spend any time there, it’s easy to see why. Not only is the island naturally drop dead gorgeous – 60% of it is protected National Park – but the parts of it that have been developed have been done so in such charming ways. This comes alive in the narrative. Fans and residents of St. John will recognize many details and feel like they’re transported to a place they know and love.

Readers who enjoy their intrigue mixed with a little romance. Among the core mystery of the novel is plenty of will-they, won’t-they relationship drama to keep the romantically-inclined swooning.

People who can’t get enough of island gossip and secrets. Have you ever wondered if any of the islanders among you are living secret lives? We often joke that the tropics are a great place to fall out and hide from society. This book is about exactly that – and the ramifications of being found out.


island book beach reads Winter in Paradise Elin Hilderbrand


Winter in Paradise is the first book in the “Paradise Trilogy.” I’ll be looking forward to checking in with these characters in Book 2.


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If you’ve read the featured book too, be sure to leave a comment below or on our Facebook page – we can chat about it and it’ll be like our own island-style book club!


Looking for more Island Reads? Here are a couple of others I’ve covered for you to check out:

An Embarrassment of Mangoes

Don’t Stop the Carnival

Here Comes the Sun


Life on a Rock


If you’re a fellow island reader and would like to connect on all things books, you can find me on Goodreads. I even have a shelf of island related books, which I plan to cover in future posts like this one.

Written By:

Current Rock of Residence:

Virgin Gorda, BVI

Island Girl Since:


Originally Hails From:


Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the tropics, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps but these days, any activities that require a bra and shoes go under careful, is-this-even-worth-it consideration. If island life has taught her anything at all, it’s that few things are more rewarding than time spent in the pool with a cocktail in hand.

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends her days working from home with her blue-eyed sidekick, Island Dog Diego, writing, editing, and cultivating content in the hopes of bringing some laughter and lightness to her fellow island souls. She recently published her first children’s book, When You’re a Baby Who Lives on a Rock, and is pretty pumped to share it with all of the island mamas out there. Her days off are typically spent boating, hiking, and meeting up with the neighborhood’s imperious roadside goats, who she shamelessly bribes into friendship. While normalcy was never listed as one of her special skills, Caribbean life may indeed be responsible for new levels of madness. She attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people.

If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous website or follow her daily escapades on Instagram @womanonarock.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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