Release Date: Jan. 06
Back Cover Blurb:
Ariel and Sara never imagined their high-spirited attempt to step into each other’s shoes would cause such upheaval. The lifelong pen pals, who look exactly alike, meet for the first time in their twenties and embark on a daring adventure of changing identities. Southern belle Ariel is determined to win the heart of a man who doesn’t know she exists, while Sara yearns to leave behind her hardscrabble existence and taste the good life that fate has denied her. But in pretty Arundel, North Carolina, nothing is as it seems — including the dangers that are closing in on their new dream lives, as the deepest of fears and darkest of secrets and betrayals come to light.
I will freely admit that I am a complete Jude Deveraux fangirl. I own every single book she’s ever written, sometimes two copies due to different covers, and I’ve read all of them at least twice if not six times or more. But good lord, god damn it what the hell happened after she wrote Temptation in 2000? What the hell? Everything after that has just been mediorce if not plain awful to read.
Anywhoo .. now that that is out of the way, I’ll get back to Carolina Isle. Not the most amazing story in my opinion, definitely not Jude Deveraux standards – at least not from my point of view. Romance took a definite step to the back burner during this story, as it did in the second two novels of the Forever series and First Impressions. And since I’m such a fan of JD’s ROMANCE novels, I’m not exactly happy about this.
Sara and Ariel – actually Ariel – concoct a plan for the two of them to swich places for awhile. Ariel has seen Sara’s boss from afar one time and has determined that she is in love with him, therefore she needs to be Sara in order to get out from under her mothers thumb and make this man fall in love with her. Sara herself has seen a picture of the man Ariel is suppose to be marrying and SHE falls in love with HIM through a picture. So damn it all, the both of them think they are going to get just what they want by switching lives.
Ariel finds a way to lure RJ Brampton (Sara’s boss) to Arundel, North Carolina, under the pretense of purchasing a local island for resort development. Even though they’ve all heard nothing but bad things about the residents of this remote island, and the mysterious disappearance of several tourists, the four of them (Ariel’s fiancee comes along with these three) leave for the island and have nothing but bad luck from the time they step off the ferry.
First they all get throw in jail for supposedly running over a dog (which they didn’t do and he was already dead in the road) and after spending hours in the local jail they then the find the dogs owner shot in the head occupying their bathtub. Town residents don’t want to help them, there’s no way off the island, telephone cables have been cut, cell phones don’t work and they don’t have any money.
Needless to say, they solve all the mysteries, fall in the love the appropriate person, get off the island, BUY the island and live happily ever after.
Some of the things that really bothered me about the book:
- RJ is a forty one year old – the other three are all 24. The man is having an adventure – and then falling in love with – people twenty years younger than he is.
- The ending – it was so arupt. There was no huge climax, no fight or arguement, no confronting the bad guys – it just ended with the helicopters rushing in to save everyone and catch the villians on their own.
- Even though from the time the two couples start the adventure they are never apart – which is nice to have no separation – I still for some odd reason didn’t feel there was enough interaction to believe that these four people – in two couples – really had fallen in love and could withstand a lifetime of being together. Even though both men had loved their woman ‘forever’ it just didn’t seem like they grew enough within the story together. One line Sara is disbelieving everything RJ tells her and then the next page his shirt is on inside out and they’ve worked everything out and will live happily ever after.