Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Road to Paradise Island by Victoria Holt

The Road to Paradise Island is a really entertaining, engrossing Victoria Holt
I've read a good number of Victoria Holt books, but when I saw the description of The Road to Paradise Island, I could not recall ever reading the book. So of course, I requested the book from the library. I just finished reading it, and I was very impressed with the story and the characters. The story's first female protagonist is Annalice Mallory. She comes from a long line of map makers, and she and her brother Philip are raised by their grandmother after Annalice's mother died when Annalice was born. Annalice's father left the country and the business to marry again in Denmark. That's the back story, but the story that influences the whole book is when Annalice finds first a grave site for an Ann Alice and then a journal and map in a walled off room. No one realized the room was there until a bad thunderstorm damages the building to show that a room is there. Ann Alice, whose name is so close to Annalice died a hundred years earlier, and Annalice's grandmother had never heard of her. When Annalice finds the journal, she reads it, and the journal takes up almost 100 pages of the book. Ann Alice tells the story of her father and her new stepmother. She also details the eeriness of Desmond Featherstone, a "friend" of her stepmother, who may be the illicit sexual partner of the stepmother. Ann Alice meets a Magnus Perrensen, whom she falls in love with. Magnus had been shipwrecked, and he had a map that showed the location of the island, which was very rich in gold. Ann Alice appears to be murdered by her stepmother and Desmond when Ann Alice finds out about their affair after Ann Alice's father dies.

Annalice is very much moved by the story, and she feels that she is connected to Ann Alice because of the similarity of their names and ages. Philip goes off to Australia in search of the island and disappears. Annalice is obsessed with her brother. In the hopes of getting their minds off of Philip, the grandmother suggests she and Annalice go to a map conference in London, where Annalice meets Raymond. She is shocked when she discovers that his grandfather was Freddie, the son of Ann Alice's stepmother and Desmond. Although Annalice has feelings for Raymond, and he asks her to marry him, she remains under certain. Raymond arranges for Annalice to accompany a family friend, Felicity, to Australia, where Felcity is to marry. Annalice jumps at the chance to find her brother. On the ship to Australia, Annalice meets Milton Harrington, the typical strong, arrogant, male protagonist in a Holt book. Of course, sparks fly between Annalice and Milton. When Felcity's new husband proves to be a brute, Annalice can't leave Felcity to her fate. When Felcity's husband is killed, Annalice and Felcity go to Cariba, the island where Philip was last seen, and where Milton Harrington has his sugar plantation. I've left some of the action out as Annalice goes to Cariba because I think that would spoil the reader's enjoyment of the story.

I know that it seems that I always give the Victoria Holt books a good rating, but this one was particularly enjoyable. I loved all of the characters strewn throughout the book, and I absolutely loved the plot. If you don't enjoy this Holt, you won't enjoy any romantic suspense books!

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