Guardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence

Guardian of Paradise by W.E. LawrenceGuardian of Paradise by W.E. Lawrence

Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published on October 15, 2014
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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three-half-stars      four-flames

I’ve always loved the adventure-style romances and I looked forward to one set on a jungle island full of natives with a feisty heroine and solid hero.  This one had a nice blend of adventure and romance.  I found the naive, yet stubbornly strong heroine who grew up on the island with the islanders intriguing and I really liked the hero who could see past the surface and appreciate her.

The story opens in 1888 when Kira Wall and the natives of the South Seas’ island, Alofa, spot an Australian Merchant Navy ship coming into the cove.  Kira is a missionaries’ daughter who stayed on the island after her parents died.  These are her people and she mistrusts the traders who come with big smiles and big gifts from the start.  Unfortunately, the chief doesn’t see the danger of kindly welcoming trade and letting the captain and his men loose on the island.  Kira’s verbal attacks toward the Captain and her temper lose her the chief’s ear even as the smug captain goes about his secretive doings.  Kira and a friend watch and impatiently wait to see what the captain is really up to.

Dr. Trevor Marshall accompanies the ship as their doctor and as botanist in order to pursue his studies to find new plants that might lead to new medicines.  He has been a non-committing type when it comes to women, but he is intrigued from the moment he encounters the fiery Kira.  Kira is suspicious because he is there with odious Captain Darcy Coleman.  Trevor doesn’t like him, but so far the man hasn’t done anything wrong.  Kira takes Trevor around the island and he is amazed at the lush growth, the health of the natives, and more than amazed by a new plant that Kira uses on a hurt islander to show it has strong healing properties.  It could be exactly what he is looking for as a medical break through.  In the meantime, his overtures to start something up with Kira are rebuffed because she may be attracted, but she wants something long-term and he’s not planning on staying.  That said, he doesn’t stop trying when it comes to the beautiful, talented woman.

The pair are at cross purposes, but it is the revelation of Captain Coleman’s plotting that heats things up for Kira, Trevor, and the dormant volcano.  Things are about to blow and it’s a race whether it will be the angry islanders, the conniving Captain, or the attraction between Kira and Trevor.

Alright, so this set up to be an exciting jungle island adventure romance.  It was a familiar situation when modern greed discovers untapped natural resources.  I liked how the islanders are portrayed.  They are honorable, hardworking, open, but not stupid.  And not every member of the crew is out to fleece them though those in control definitely are.

The story is more action plot, but it’s pacing is right and doesn’t lag.

The description of the island and the people makes me wish I could go there.  From lush fruits, colorful tropical flora, the gorgeous scenery including the waterfall lagoon.  Sounds fantastic.

The characters are all engaging, too.  A few of the islanders are distinguished and they are fun and solid people.  And the bad guys with Captain Coleman in the lead are less described, but they do their job creating conflict.

The main character and narrator is Kira.  I had mixed feelings about her.  Kira loves the people and understands them for the most part, but she is not really one of them having lived in Australia the first ten years of her life so she straddles both worlds.  She feels it is her calling to protect the islanders who are innocent to the world away from the island and keep the island’s abundant natural resources from being stripped.  Kira, herself, has skills and intelligence, a huge heart, but she knows just enough to be dangerous.  I had to constantly remind myself just how isolated and innocent she was even if she had an inflated opinion of her own power.  She meant well, but thought somehow she was fine to go up against several ruthless men who were armed all because her dad taught her self-defense and she knew the island better than the Captain and his group.  It wouldn’t have been so frustrating, but she was stubborn about it and grudgingly grateful when she had to have help from Trevor or her best friend.

Trevor is the second main character and had a portion of the narration.  He was a good sort, but he wasn’t as strong-willed as Kira and this made for an interesting dynamic.  He had plans and dreams.  He liked Kira and respected her, but he knew that his time with her wasn’t permanent.  He tried to help, but Kira kept things back so he had to operate in the dark at times and act as sidekick.  He didn’t seem to mind this other than her stubborn-stupid moments that almost got her and others killed.

The romance was sweet and I liked these two together.  Not to say things didn’t heat up, but it took its time because of all the other stuff going on and because this was Kira’s first time experiencing attraction and dealing with the possibility of a romantic relationship.  Kira was innocent and a virgin, but the fire in her lit up when Trevor was around.  Because of her naiveté, I was a smidge uncomfortable with their first time together.  I wasn’t entirely sure she understood what was happening before they were in the middle of things.  But she was a strong willed person and could have said no so that’s what relieved me somewhat.  At the end, I wasn’t surprised about the solution to the issue of their conflict of interest.  However, I did find it problematic for the long term because one had to give in on dreams and it didn’t set well with me.

The final big scenes were exciting and I loved not knowing how Kira and the others would get out of the dire trouble they found themselves in after the captain’s plotting was revealed.

All in all, it was exciting, passionate, and the setting was perfect.  Those who enjoy the exotic jungle island adventure romance type stories should consider this one.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #123 HR

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Hmmm, interesting

  • I don’t think I’ve read many of the adventure type romances, so I can’t fully imagine what that will be like. I like the tropical feel of the cover and with all the nature there’s a hint to the adventure aspect as well. Sounds like a nice couple too, with the solid hero and the heroine who grew up on the island. I like how you mention the descriptions are done right, I like it when I can form a good image of how things look like. Kira sounds a bit too stubborn for my tastes, but overall it sounds like an interesting book. Great review!

    • I don’t see many of this style romance much so I’m happy to snag them when I do. Kira was a tough one to like b/c her insistence on her own way and jumping in with little thought almost got her and others killed. I don’t like that. But yes, the life on the island setting and descriptions made me want to go there. 😉

  • Oo different set up. I’ve not read too many like this. Sounds like a pretty good read 😀

    • Yes, exactly! It’s different and I enjoyed that. There used to be more adventure jungle romances, but you don’t see many of them any more.