Forgotten Paradise (Dreamspun Desires)

Author: Shira Anthony

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Rating: 4.5 stars

Buy Links: DSP & Amazon

Type: Novel

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a megacompany threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

 

Review:  So much tropey goodness! Just as one would expect from the Dreamspun Desires Line of books. But let me tell you, this story boasts leagues of depth, a heart of gold, and a stellar romance.

Shira Anthony is a go-to author for me, and she demonstrates precisely why in this profoundly entertaining story of an island friendship/romance that undergoes a doozy of a test once it goes mainland.

Adam has finally taken his sister’s advice to treat himself to a relaxing break in the Dominican Republic before facing the possible sale of the family corporation to a bigger contender. While he takes a bit of time to grow accustomed to the slower pace on the island, diving is something Adam loves, so he takes full advantage of the resort’s guided dives. Adam finds himself attracted to Jonah, one of the dive instructors, and wouldn’t he like to take advantage of him too! Adam was immediately likeable to me. A kind man, a smart man. He was torn between following his dreams regarding the company and honoring the wishes of the remainder of his family, in the aftermath of his father’s death. While attracted to Jonah and envisioning a vacation fling, Adam respected the friends-only distance the somewhat mysterious dive instructor initially desired. It was impossible not to like Jonah. He was bright, upbeat, caring and seemed so genuine even though he also seemed to be avoiding his past.

Jonah is happy with his job. He loves the island life he’s led for 10 years, even though he can’t remember what came before. It was impossible not to like Jonah. It’s evident he’s blocking out his past as much as he’s actually truly had amnesia. Why is he avoiding his truth? And why does he understand Adam’s work and crisis of conscience about selling his business so well? He’s not supposed to get involved with any of the resort guests, plus he figures it’s just plain smart not to, for reasons of his own. Adam gets under Jonah’s skin though; his kindness, his openness, his desire to do the right thing. Jonah and Adam end up spending a passionate interlude before Adam has to go home to face the real world and some big decisions. Adam is left feeling somewhat bereft. Due to Jonah’s interactions with Adam, his mind finally opens and reveals information that leaves him reeling.

The attraction between the two men was palpable and fairly leapt off the page. They put the attraction to the back burner though, and built a true friendship in the week Adam was on the island, before being unable to deny it any longer. I really appreciated this and found it essential to how the latter half of the story played out. One of the wonderful qualities Adam and Jonah demonstrated was the ability to truly communicate. Both on the island and afterward. There were no big misunderstanding, no avoidance, no blame games. They truly worked for and earned their happy ending by being honest with themselves and with each other. I was truly blown away by the level of character development, of knowing clearly what was driving both Jonah and Adam in their behavior and decisions. I also want to mention how wonderful it was that both Adam and Jonah had a strong woman playing an important role in their life. These women were supportive, wise and essential. So refreshing to see such depictions.

The author has created a very deep story here, with complex, appealing characters who act like real people. She wrapped all of that in a plot that consisted of elements in the trope-zone, such as amnesia, island fling, big money, and big love. It’s also worth noting that I know the author is a diver herself, so I’m sure the underwater scenes were drawn from her actual experiences, which make them all the richer to me. I’m not sure if any of these stories get a sequel, but boy, would I love one for Adam and Jonah.

 

 

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