Men of Paradise by Kathleen O'Connor
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Humor
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon
Things should be peaceful in Paradise, Florida. Right? But not for Yuma Hawk, the new director of security at the gated community of Royal Breezes. He's fast falling in love with a woman who has enough secrets to sink a barge, and one of those secrets just may cost him his job. Now, Roy, his worst enemy, has just blown into town and fallen -- literally and figuratively -- for Yuma's administrative assistant. That same assistant has just hired a guard, Eric, with no skills because he slightly resembles George Clooney. The newbie guard, is a menace to the community and himself.
Could things get any worse? Come to Paradise and find out.
O'Connor's Men of Paradise is a fun, sweet almost caricature of a romance. Ok, so nothing wildly out-of-the-ordinary happens - but every single ordinary thing that does happen, happens in a really really strange way. Heck, even the odd dead body end up described as 'like a parrot' in their orange and pink suit.
Lovely twenty-something Lauren Pierce's life is hardly a laugh a minute for her, but readers will find her endless efforts to extricate herself from various situations endlessly funny. In fact, its the manipulations of an already dead relative that brings the athletic, super-smiley Yuma into her life.
While Lauren is busy registering the potential trouble the man might bring into her life, her Mom is in the background giving him the southern belle equivalent of a big thumbs-up. It's quickly obvious that Lauren's troubles started a while back and are only set to continue.
David, the nephew, is as colorful a secondary character as is the Mom, and sometimes his suspicions seem more believable than Lauren's more logical opinion... certainly more fun. Just as we begin to find a measure of comfort in our cast we're tossed a few more, equally eccentric, and get a closer view of Yuma's family ties. None of the characters are unbelievable, even if every one is implausible.
The pace zips from fast to more reflective background information, and back up to fast in the space of a few lines. The background info is often funny...maybe there is just a trifle too much of it. Yet, from line one, you know Lauren's moment-to-moment is never going to be dull, so you will definitely keep reading, every page, every word. It only gets weirder as you meet more inhabitants of this age-plus community, aka the busybody casserole brigade. This assures in almost a whole second story, set to collide with the first.
O'Connor has a snappy way with turning the facts on their heads, to present them in an amusing way. As Yuma considers dating Lauren, he reviews the facts, admits she's unlikely to want to see him socially, but considers the plain reality 'a trifle.' And he doesn't even suspect Lauren's efforts to keep him from finding out about her nephew, and the height of charm is probably not inviting her to be part of his 'pack.'
Men of Paradise is a topsy-turvy romance with quirky characters and a lot of laughs, with a dash of the heartwarming sprinkled around for good measure.