Escape to Paradise Island by Trish Ollman

‘Come to Paradise Island and leave your cares behind .’

Anna, Sue, Bianca and Rachael each see an advertisement for Paradise Island, a luxury resort in tropical North Queensland. Each of the women has a different reason for seeing a holiday on Paradise Island as attractive. Anna, in her early 60s, sees an opportunity to rekindle romance in her marriage to Ken. Sue, about to turn 50, is single after a failed marriage and wonders if she’ll ever experience romantic love. Bianca, just married, hopes that a romantic holiday will help her husband Joel overcome problems with intimacy. Rachael and her husband Harry have not had a holiday alone in ten years of marriage: an opportunity for a holiday without their three children would be marvellous!

Will they all find what they are seeking on Paradise Island? Will a week of sand, sex and sun change their lives?

There’s a lot to like in Ms Ollman’s novel and while certain aspects are predictable, that’s part of the comfort of an escapist read. It’s a quick, easy read, even though it’s over 400 pages. But, like many self-published novels, it really needs editing. It is one thing to substitute ‘ridicules’ for ‘ridiculous’, to have a ‘fibular’ instead of a ‘fibula’, to have ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’ but when occasionally ‘Harry’ becomes ‘Jack’, ‘Lily’ becomes ‘Ruby’ and ‘’Bianca’ is referred to as ‘Rachael’ it becomes annoying. I chuckled at ‘ante depressants’ but I’m fairly sure that it was really ‘anti depressants’. And while ‘making love to venerable women’ could be a worthy objective, making love to vulnerable women wouldn’t be. What do you think?

Does editing matter if the story is good? It does to me, and if it does to you, then you may also find aspects of this novel irritating. Consider this sentence, quoted as written:

‘She’d see a load of different area’s Yellow Pages in Reception and decided she would go there after lunch and look up a Specialist, if they had a Sydney copy.’ (pages 223-224)

The problem for me is that once I start focussing on poor editing, it jerks me out of the story and reduces my enjoyment of it. Not very romantic. But I am keen to find ‘Thingwall Beach’ near Wollongong (although I wonder if it’s really ‘Thirroul’). Ms Ollman has set the book up nicely for another romantic instalment and, yes, I will probably read it.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith