Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A review and an interview from Rae (10-4)

9.06/10 corner cafés

I will be reviewing The Only Way to Paradise by G.G. Vandagriff. I am so excited to be sharing this review with the followers of bookish. G.G. Vandagriff asked us to review this book and it has been a joy to read. I needed a good wholesome romance.

Mackenzie, Sara, Roxie, and Georgia are all tired of being misunderstood by their therapist Dr. Kathy. The therapy group decides to view Enchanted April. They see Italy as a therapist towards Rose. They all think the group should go away on a trip to Italy to get away from the sorrows. The idea seems bizarre to members of the group but after much conversing, they all leave for Italy and find themselves welcomed at a beautiful bed and breakfast. As things begin to seem carefree the troubles of these women’s lives creep into their Italy getaway. Mackenzie worries herself that she is a bad mother and when her husband left them for a boat it was all her fault. She immediately sends for her children in America. To her surprise Kurt her husband and her daughter Jessica come off the plane and her son does not. Roxie takes in the beautiful scenes of Italy and meets a man called Stefano. She plans a meeting with Stefano to discuss the Medici for one of Roxie’s novel ideas. She begins to feel sick and embarrasses herself in front of Stefano. Georgia is a helpful figure to all the girls, but she is still haunted by the death of her husband Ben and the death of her ability to play the violin. She finds that her friend Sara who is also in the group can play the violin beautifully. Sara is stuck being a doctor because she feels that she must be successful for her parents that risked their lives for her. She knows her talent and she decides not to show it but when she is pushed by Georgia and a man from Hong Kong, she begins to perform privately for her friends when she is asked.

The feelings and bonds in The Only Way to Paradise are breathtaking. The way Mackenzie feels for her children and the way Georgia mourns over Ben is heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I felt like since the moment I started reading this book I somehow knew the characters. The characters are also very connected with each other and they are better therapists to each other than Dr. Kathy could ever be. I feel like the characters were just as beautiful as Italy in this novel.

The writing in this novel is marvelous at times and at other times it is just average. I could see Italy in my head and I could definitely envision Roxie on her red scooter zooming through the streets. The romance scenes are definitely to die for; they make the book so juicy. Also, the way the novel skips back and forth between characters you are dying to know what happens next.

This book is outrageous. I would recommend this to young adults who are in search of a romance novel that is not too trashy but enjoyable. Sadly I would not recommend this book to men. I think this book would also be good to start a book club with. I can see women meeting at a coffee shop and discussing this novel.

An Interview with G.G. Vandagriff


Q:What inspired you to write The Only Way to Paradise?
A:It was a combination of things. One morning I woke up and these four women were in my head. I think I must have been inspired by Enchanted April for the Italy piece.. But I sat down and wrote character sketches immediately. I spent three years traveling back and forth to Florence, and getting to know my characters better and better. It wasn't until my last trip, in January that I really understood that the book was all about agape (selfless love) and  that is why Italy is so healing.
Q:As a child, which did you enjoy more reading or writing?
A:  I enjoyed writing (or drawing story pictures) from the time I could hold crayons. I made stories up in my head constantly. I wrote about a girl called Sandy O'Hara. When I became a teen, I still made up stories in my head, but I was an avid reader as well (under the covers at night with a flashlight if necessary to finish a book)
Q:How many other books have you wirtten?
A:I've written 11 and a half other books. Two women's fiction, one epic historical romance (that one the Whitney Award for Best Historical Novel in 2009), five mysteries, two suspense, and two non-fiction.
Q:Where did you get your inspiration for the characters in The Only Way to Paradise?
A:I really don't know. They came into my head fully formed, I just needed to get to know them better. My friends say they are all me, which is, of course, impossible. My husband says I'm most like Roxie.
Q:Lastly, did you enjoy your experience with bookish?
A:Yes! Bookish has been great.

 If you would like to share something pertaining to this post just leave it in the comments box, or you can leave a link to your blog and I’d gladly check it out and leave a comment. Thanks! -Rae


  1. I'm so tickled that you appreciated my work! Outrageous, huh? Actually, my next door neighbor is Tommaso, the man in Lucca who invited everyone to his trattoria for dinner after Sara's debut. He just finished reading it and wants a sequel! He doesn't understand why I didn't let him have "a little fling."

  2. Outrageous and lovely. I would love to read a sequel, I enjoyed the book so much. -Rae