Review: "Trip to Paradise" by L.E. Fallon

Review by Zita

SYNOPSIS: Whatever Trisha McCord set her mind to was accomplished. While preparing for an Alaskan Cruise, being in the wrong place at the wrong time changes her life and everything she believes in. She’s whisked into another place and time, where an intriguing, dark eyed stranger, takes her into another world. She realizes while caught in a whirlwind of emotions – the best laid plans can often take a detour to paradise.
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Michael Colten left civilization – longing for the simple life of just man and nature. It was perfect until he learned what he loved most may be taken away. Desperate to stop certain events that could put him and everything he loves in danger. He is forced to choose between the old love of his life and the new love in his life. There is only one thing left to do…take a trip to paradise.

REVIEW: Despite what the synopsis says, Trisha is not whisked to another place and time, she’s kidnapped during a bank robbery. While she’s being held captive by the robber she falls in love with him…indeed, in a direct quote from the story:

“She loved Michael with her whole heart. She had never loved anyone like the way she loved him. Her heart was whole and complete with him. All the fear and hopelessness she had carried with her in her life was replaced by the love and adoration Mike selflessly gave to her. He was her forever soul mate, and her one true love.

Her thoughts continued to drift, on the randomness of life, the blessings, the curses, the beauty, and sometimes even the bad.”

And that’s part of the problem with the story. We never actually learn of about the “fear and hopelessness she had carried with her in her life,” so that deep, abiding love she develops for Mike does not come across to us at all. In fact, she plays out as a weak, easily manipulated wimp who lets everyone walk all over her. Her boss uses her to swindle people out of their land, her mother is clingy and over-protective, and the great love of her life is the bank robber who kidnaps and terrorizes her. How we are expected to believe this is romantic is beyond me.

Now it does turn out that the bank robber doesn’t actually rob the bank. He and his two adopted brothers hold up the bank in order to put something into someone’s safety deposit box. You never actually learn how they manage this, because the story turns to the kidnapping before we get to find out and we only learn much later that this is what they did. Our hero sees Trisha in the bank and falls instantly in love and decides that the best move is to grab her and run for the hills. Luckily for him, she’s about to go on a week-long cruise to Alaska (in October?!?) and so she won’t be immediately missed…even though the bank’s security cameras all saw her being taken. Trisha has no friends, either, except for the elderly woman she works with and the elderly woman who is her neighbor. They all think she’s gone on the cruise and none of them read the papers or watch TV, I guess. Her mother does wake up from a bad dream around about day 3 where she thinks her daughter is in terrible danger. Her husband convinces her that Trisha is just fine and have a great time on the ship. I guess they don’t follow the local news reports either. And the mother turns out to be right, because that’s the day that Trisha gets beat up by Mike’s brother Zack.

Beyond the logic gaps in this story, Ms. Fallon is overly fond of descriptions. For example:

“She tingled all over, and gushed with complete infatuation. Her breath panted with each beat of her heart. He stood at least a foot and a half above her, and she just sighed as he went by.”

And that’s just a random receptionist’s reaction when Mike comes into her office. Unfortunately, it is a typical example of the prose the author uses throughout this story.

I don’t think Ms. Fallon understands the meaning of the word “smirked,” either, because her characters smirked a lot and at very inappropriate times. Like when Trisha gets beat up by Zack, and Mike’s other brother, Beau, comes to her rescue. Their conversation goes like this:

“Let me at least help you get something for those scratches.” Beau suggested again.

“No, please…Just go…and please…make Zack go away.”

Beau smirked.”

All in all this story needs work. I don’t know if further editing will help it much, because a protagonist who falls for her kidnapper does not spell romance to me, especially when his brother gets her alone and terrorizes her, kicks her in the ribs, and cuts her up. By the way, Ms. Fallon alternately describes the cuts as “scratches” and “deep purple and red scars carved into her chest.”

There are several other story lines going on at the same time with a couple, Moira and Nathan, on the cruise Trisha was supposed to be on and a romance between Trisha’s elderly neighbor and the Moira’s father. There’s also a greedy land developer and his cheating wife, not to mention Mike’s two brothers. So much is going on in this story in so many different directions it all becomes very confusing and disjointed. My most common reactions when reading this was “What?” and “Really?”

I cannot recommend this story.