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Reviewed by Brittney Rossie for Readers' Favorite
Guardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence is a historical romance set in the South Pacific, written in the style of an Indiana Jones movie script. We find our heroine Kira to be a whip toting, shorts wearing, pistol of a personality. An outsider herself as the orphaned daughter of Christian missionaries among indigenous people in the late 1800s, she has made her home with them and, as such, has a wariness of the increasing presence of outsiders to her island home. When Captain Coleman arrives with an overabundance of trade goods, her suspicions about his ulterior motives are aroused. The botanist/doctor, Trevor, who arrived on the ship as well, arouses her interest too, but in an entirely different way. Kira’s suspicions are confirmed about the Captain’s ulterior motives and she must find a way to prevent him from abusing her people’s trust and land. Meanwhile, our very capable jungle heroine is a bit vulnerable in the romance department and embarks on an unexpected journey of love. Dealing with new feelings and emotions while trying to sort out the crisis that could devastate the natives and her home, our ‘jungle lady’ must learn to trust her heart and fight to save her people and home.
This was a wonderfully written novel. My one caveat is this: The descriptiveness of the romance scenes and how the romance primarily unfolds in a physical nature, given that Kira is the daughter of Christian missionaries, was a bit surprising. I thought the book would have a more modest approach to the romance. Otherwise, I think this is a great debut novel. It's a simple story that is well told and includes a nefarious yet intelligent villain, an unconventional and intellectual hero, and a whip-smart, tough heroine, which is all delivered at a steady clip of a pace and with a satisfactory wrap up.