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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
In Jane Ver Mulm’s delightful historical romance novel, Finding Paradise, Ellen Schmidt struggles against the repressive social norms of her era. During her childhood, Ellen forms close bonds with her father’s slaves. Unlike most people in her circle, Ellen abhors the practice of slavery, an attitude she maintains throughout her adult years. An arranged marriage at twenty-three forces Ellen to leave her childhood home. Though her husband Wilfred is kind to her, their relationship remains distant. As rumors of a civil war become more frequent, things begin to change. The war challenges long-held notions about slavery and only a few in Georgia are ready to accept the imminent change. Between personal loss and perils brought along by the war, Ellen remains hopeful that she will one day find the paradise she had always longed for.
In Finding Paradise, Jane Ver Mulm creates likable protagonists who fight against racial prejudice based on their convictions. As a young woman, Ellen makes up her mind on issues about marriage and slavery away from the dictates of the society around her. People’s opinions do not stop her from pursuing a relationship that she finds fulfilling. Secondary characters also play important roles in supporting main characters or bringing out their strengths. I liked that the novel was also unpredictable as Ellen’s life changed in different ways throughout the plot. The background of the on-going civil war creates a sense of apprehension as well as the promise of change. Finding Paradise is an amazing novel that explores important topics through inspiring characters.