Here's a description of the book from the author's website:
"They Left Everything behind to Build a New Southern Utopia.
Embark on a seafaring adventure in a brand-new series from bestselling author MaryLu Tyndall. After witnessing the death and destruction caused by the Civil War, Colonel Blake Wallace is eager to leave his once precious Southern homeland for the pristine shores of Brazil and the prospect of a new utopian community. Widow Eliza Crawford seeks passage on Wallace’s ship harboring a dirty secret—and a blossoming hope for a fresh start. But will dangers from the sea and from man keep them from the peace and love they long for?"
As a fan of MaryLu Tyndall's work, I'm excited to report that this first book in her new series is promising and intriguing! Forsaken Dreams takes place mostly on the sea (Tyndall's setting specialty!), and there are plenty of dangers - both internal and external - to keep the plot interesting. The characters are varied, like well-fitted puzzle pieces that come together to form a fascinating blend of romance, opposition, challenge, and growth.
The beginning of the book was a bit off-putting, as it jumped around in time and made the introduction to the story a little rough. (I can see why it might have been done that way, as it emphasized the "Jonah" theme, started off with some excitement, gave some important back story, etc. However, I think the damage to the flow of the story outweighed the potential benefits. If it was just the one "jump" scene with Hayden, I think that would have been fine, but the first chapter "jump" didn't work for me.)
Once the story catches up to where the first chapter left off, though, the adventure continues on uninterrupted. The middle of the story is full of interesting interactions and insights, as well as one crisis after another.
The ending is good, but it isn't as epic and satisfying as the endings to some of Tyndall's other novels. The one thing about this series is that the nature of the overall plot makes it difficult to enjoy this first installment as a stand-alone. A cliffhanger (of sorts) is certainly acceptable, especially as it makes me eager to continue the journey through the eyes of Hayden and Magnolia in the next book, Elusive Hope! But I wished for a little more excitement to this (current) conclusion to Blake and Eliza's story.
All in all, though, Forsaken Dreams is a great beginning to the "Escape to Paradise" series, as it introduces a great new cast of characters and demonstrates the need to forgive and be forgiven, to understand and to appreciate. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how this series continues!
*With thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*