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Jan 3, 2014

Elusive Hope (Escape to Paradise #2) by Mary Lu Tyndall

Elusive Hope (Escape to Paradise #2) by Mary Lu Tyndall
Barbour Books, November 2013
Historical Inspirational Romance
Review copy provided by the author, thank you
Burton Book Review Rating: 4 stars

In a colony named New Hope, while their friends are seeking a southern utopia...
Hayden is seeking revenge. Relentlessly.
After years of all but selling his soul to track down his scoundrel of a father, Hayden Gale discovers his search must continue in South America, where his father is reported to be helping colonize Brazil. Hayden has nothing more to lose, certainly not a good reputation, and vows to keep pursuing--at any cost--the vile man who he believes killed his mother.
Magnolia is seeking a way out. Desperately.
She's in the jungles of Brazil against her will, but what choice does Magnolia Scott have? Her father insisted on uprooting their family to escape the uncertainty of Southern life after the Civil War. But how will she survive without all she holds dear--wealthy suitors, beautiful clothes, summer balls, and slaves waiting on her every whim? She vows to find a way to get back home--and attaches herself to handsome Hayden Gale.
As they journey toward Rio de Janeiro, they each seek to use the other for their own purposes. Deceptively. Falling in love was never part of their plans.... 

The second installment to the Escape to Paradise trilogy focuses on Magnolia Scott and Hayden Gale who we met during Forsaken Dreams (my review can be found here). The first novel featured the background to the travelers on the journey to Brazil and should be read first. I was looking forward to continuing this story of a new colony of Southerners eager to make a fresh start close to a jungle far from home, and far from the damages of the Civil War.

While Forsaken Dreams focused on rebuilding a Southern Utopia, this novel seemed to focus more on the characters' interactions with each other with a major focus on the love blossoming between the opposites attract angle between Magnolia and Hayden. Deep down they weren't very opposite as they were both self serving and difficult to get along with, which made their relationship that much more fun to watch develop.

The intriguing twist to this romance was the ominous shadow that had that supernatural quivering tingle underneath the main plot line, and it wasn't until the end that we get to that climatic conclusion... but it wasn't a conclusion except more of a cliffhanger which will again entice MaryLu's readers to pick up her next novel. It was well-written with just the right dose of faith-based discovery, with characters that really help flesh out this intriguing setting. Definitely not to be read as a stand-alone though, as newcomers will lose the sense of the story if they start here.