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on January 22, 2016
My rating would be 4.5 stars, the little extra is for the 'debut' novel lift.

It’s 10 days on a beautiful Florida island setting. I live in Hawaii, therefore I can’t play the card of wanting to have a beach read during the cold months. I read several Second World War novels, I simply needed to read some warm read over the holidays. Linda Abbott delivered, I was fully entertained. Her passion for the setting and love for the characters is so evident, you truly feel like you took that vacation with them.

I love complicated books with many characters and storylines. It was very brave for Linda Abbott to even attempt to cover it all in ten day span. It was masterfully done and I never felt lost. On the contrary, you get to know the main characters in depth. I felt emotional connection to each and every one of them.

This is NOT your typical beach ‘light’ novella. It’s about all the complicated and complex subjects in life; parenthood, family dynamics, relationships, aging, but mostly connections. It’s so real because it happens to all of us. We have all experienced neglect, disconnect that leads to disfunction. The grass is not greener on the other side, it’s greener where you take care of it. And the relationships that we don’t feed, will eventually die of anorexia/starvation. Linda exquisitely conveyed the virtue of human soul longing for love and intimacy, wrestling with the moral code. We all want to be loved, heard and validated.
This is a very relatable read on many levels, with ‘real’ characters with flaws, conquering real life issues. LOVE is proven from many different angles, not only as a romance, but simply as human beings struggling with forgiveness, and reconciliation.

I didn’t mind the religious undertone, it was nicely entwined with character’s moral compass and believes. The church storyline was a great example of power of a community.

Linda Abbott has a colorful vocabulary, I loved learning new words. This book is well written, and I’m hoping there is a sequel coming up.
Here are some of my favorite 'GEMS'....:-)
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on April 18, 2015
TEN DAYS IN PARADISE is Linda Abbott’s debut novel. Uncharacteristically for me, I found it difficult to “get into” the book. It took about until about chapter 39 (half way through the book) before I felt connected to the story. However, I am happy I stayed with it, because the second half was a very enjoyable read.
What I liked – The story centered on David’s family gathering to celebrate his parents’ 50th anniversary on Florida’s Sanibel Island. Even though there were differences between David’s sisters Julia and Maggie, David played mediator all the while he and his wife Marianne were at odds over how to raise their children. There was also a huge amount of personal time given by Ellen using her resources and knowledge to help save the chapel. When the story came together, I found that the characters had found a way to resolve their challenges, though you may be surprised at the outcome.
What I didn’t like - I felt there were too many characters and subplots, and I would have preferred to concentrate on fewer people and fewer issues. With so much going on, it would have been better for me, if the author had concentrated on just a few of the subplots, and saved the rest for development in another book.

Since my likes outweigh dislikes, I am giving this book three and a half stars.
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on April 13, 2015
Ten Days in Paradise is the debut women’s fiction novel by Ms. Linda Abbott. The story is set in a resort area of beautiful Sanibel, Florida, and revolves around the Blackmore family and the people they meet while gathered there for the fiftieth wedding anniversary of George and Judy Blackmore. I think this is a very good first effort by Ms. Abbott, and I rate it 3.5 stars.

There is a lot to like about this book. The author does a terrific job describing the gorgeous setting without becoming too detailed. In addition, there are many interesting subplots laced throughout the book with chapters alternating amongst them all. The chapters are short, and each one ends with a mini-cliffhanger so that the reader is motivated to keep turning the pages. The main characters are very likeable (though certainly not without fault, which is good), making it easy to invest in their stories. The characters are also for the most part well into adulthood, which adds appeal for us older readers. Family dynamics play a major role in this tale, and Ms. Abbott handles the interplay of many different personalities in outstanding fashion.

There are a couple of reasons why I am not giving the book a higher rating. First, though it is certainly enjoyable, I do not think the novel brings anything terribly new or different to the genre. Secondly, though Ms. Abbott does an excellent job in tying up most of the multiple subplots, there is a big one left unresolved. For this one reason alone I have deducted one star. This may have been done to create an opening for a series, or perhaps the author is leaving this particular subplot open ended for the reader’s own conclusions. I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I am not a fan of novels ending in unadvertised cliffhangers (assuming that is the case here, though I am not sure about that). On the flip side, I really enjoyed the characters in this book and would be happy to read the next novel should this become a series. With this very good debut effort, I do think Linda Abbott has the potential to continue to grow as a writer, and I will be looking for future novels from her.

Overall, this was a fun and engaging read for me. I recommend it to all fans of women’s fiction, with the warning that there is one subplot left hanging.

ADDENDUM (April 15, 2015): I had the pleasure of corresponding with Ms. Abbott. No cliffhangers intended. Ms. Abbott does give definite hints as to what happens to the characters in question at the end. It is because the story is about TEN DAYS in Paradise, which is clearly not enough time for this subplot to play out, that she basically had to TELL us in so many words rather than SHOW us what direction things went. Fair enough. With this info and with zero prodding by Ms. Abbott, I am raising my rounded 3.5 star rating from 3 to 4 stars.
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on October 14, 2015
The main plot of this book is about Ellen, who has an unappreciative husband and an out-of-control teenage son, and David, who has a single minded wife and three young children. Both of them are tired and disappointed with their spouses and their lives when they accidentally meet while vacationing on the beautiful island of Sanibel.

There are a lot of storylines in this book (each of them with its own drama), and although they’re confusing in the beginning and made me wonder what George and Jennifer had to do with David and Ellen, at the end, everything is crystal clear and masterfully connected . Some of the story lines have an ending, others don’t – drama goes on like in real life.

Ellen and David are unfaithful, but this book is not glorifying it. It merely shows what middle-aged married people struggle with, how it affects their families, and how their strengths and weaknesses might push them to make decisions they wouldn’t have if the circumstances had been different.

The main and recurring subject - LOVE - is shown from a lot of different angles, including the conflicts that it creates. The author also touches on a lot of other real life issues that many readers would be able to relate to. This book is special, and definitely worth reading.
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on July 9, 2017
This was not what I expected... It was much, much more! Linda Abbott has a way of not only developing wonderful characters, but (with several) made it very easy to follow. This book touched me in many ways: love, life, real life situations. I think mainly it pulled to me how we all want to feel that special love and intimacy with our soul mate. Also, at the end of the day, we want serenity--so to speak. Some times people think things are better on the other side...until the get a taste of it. All relationship--dating, marriage, friendship--they all take work. We should be willing to put that work in. EXCELLENT! Please, if you've not read this... get it.
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on July 30, 2015
Ten Days in Paradise
By Linda Abbott

Reviewed by Author Roy Murry

If you are looking for an intelligent novel about relationships, I recommend Ms. Abbott’s story of people meeting on the island of Sanibel. A place where the rich meet to play, off the west coast of Florida, USA, a man and woman goes where they each thought they would never go – infidelity.

Each’s family dynamics are brought to light in this well written dramatic portrayal of a love affair. All sides of that endeavor are delved in, indirectly by family member and others, who have no idea of the events leading up to the coupling.

The man and the woman’s views are inwardly conflicted before and after their steamy night together. Each reaches out to others for the answers to their predicament. This is where the debate over what is really love and what one should do about it.

The answer lies in the man’s mother and father’s 50 year anniversary, that he and his family are celebrating; and events that surround the church the woman helps to save on her short vacation. Love is a commitment and is not a whim.

Ms. Abbott does a good job keeping the reader’s attention bringing people’s attitudes in at the right moment. Prose is uncomplicated and easy to read.

A book to read on your next vacation.
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on August 27, 2016
My take away from this story is that despite our attempts to make life perfect, it isn't. Not by a long shot. We try to navigate through the imperfections but sometimes we stumble and fall. That's what the main characters, David and Ellen, did in this book. The chaos in their lives was the catalyst for them seeking out each other. The author took us through their excitement as well as their feelings after they crossed the line in their marriages. The story wasn't just about David and Ellen. It was so much more. There were some subplots that added dimension and showed how those we love affect our decisions and reveal our true nature. This book is a very real depiction of life's ups and downs. Ms. Abbott's description of Sanibel Island is an enticement for me to one day visit.
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on September 10, 2015
My Review of Ten Days In Paradise
By Linda Abbott

This is a wonderful debut novel by author Linda Abbott. She has masterfully woven together multiple plot lines to create a delightful, heartwarming story that explored the theme of family: love and commitment; parental issues with children, young and grown; sibling rivalries; marriages gone stale; infidelity; aging; loyalty, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Set on the beautiful island of Sanibel off Florida, the lush locale was a character in itself. I could feel, see, and hear the tropical paradise, the pounding or gentle surf, the exquisite sunsets, the flora and fauna, the seashells and shorebirds. Environment mirrored the internal landscape: crashing waves reflected inner turmoil or a desperate search for a lost child; a gleaming splinter of light on an alter inspired religious meditation. I felt the conflict of year round residents with their tight community and love of the raw beauty of Sanibel versus wealthy interlopers walled off in mega-mansions and fancy resorts.

I loved Abbott’s poignant descriptions of family, especially sisterly love, so beautifully rendered, it was hard for me to read. I lost my two sisters in their prime and so her tender, evocative prose brought back all the raw emotions I felt of love and loss.

Abbott exquisitely conveyed the longing of the soul for love and intimacy, the need to feel noticed and appreciated, and the trouble that arose when a partner was disengaged. She wrote of the trials of marriage in the past or anticipated (dementia), how different couples handled these and continued to do so. She made me feel the strong pull and healing nature of family love; yet, also the power of family to hurt and damage.

There was a lot of territory to cover yet Abbott handled it well, the various storylines, the large cast of characters, so that I was easily pulled from one storyline to the next. The characters were well developed and believable.

I could feel the inner turmoil and yearnings of the main characters. Nothing was simplistic; people were flawed, as we all are. There were so many wonderful snippets of real life, things I’ve experienced and know as true: rebellious sister Maggie accepting behavior from her brother David yet rejecting the same from her sister Julia: who hasn’t experienced that on some level? Human foibles made me smile in recognition of the same in myself.

Abbott’s prose spoke of the truths of human experience: the poignancy of aging, issues of health and lifestyle choices, nostalgia, hypocrisy, betrayals, all the messy things of human nature, as well as the beautiful and uplifting, family love and loyalty, the promise of eternal love, the beauty of reconciliation. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and look forward to more from Linda Abbott.
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What a wonderful debut novel! A big, extended family gathers at beautiful Sanibel Island off Florida to celebrate their parents' 50th anniversary. Set against the lush island's locale - the surf, gorgeous sunsets, seashells and shorebirds - we also see explored the complicated theme of family: love and commitment, infidelity, parents' issues with children young and adult, sibling rivalry, and marriage gone stale. We also see forgiveness and reconciliation. What is most moving is how the author shows her characters fall from grace, and then struggle back to either change or accept what they cannot change and move on. Kudos to Linda Abbott for creating characters that shine through and prevail, despite their flaws. It is a beautiful story.
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on April 10, 2017
Get ready for a story that feeds your mind, touch your heart, and leads you to unspoken truths of the human experience. Very compelling story with unforgettable characters. Not my usual genre, being that I am a horror fanatic, but I loved the story. The characters are priceless as they go through conflicts, challenges, a soured marriage, happiness, anger, forgiveness, and compromise. Linda Abbot hits every emotion and does it well.
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