Finding Paradise

Romance - Historical
258 Pages
Reviewed on 07/27/2020
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Author Biography

Jane Ver Mulm is an Iowa native, who in her life has also lived in Minnesota, California, Kentucky, and Ontario, Canada. She now resides in Rock Valley, Iowa with her husband of over 30 years. She loves to garden, cook, sew, read, and of course write. She works as a staff writer at the local newspaper, and has enjoyed writing poetry, plays, and stories for her family and friends for years. She began writing professionally as a ghost writer for companies online. Her first novel, Finding Paradise, was inspired by her love of history, and her lifelong habit of imagining what her circumstances would have been in different eras.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

In Jane Ver Mulm’s delightful historical romance novel, Finding Paradise, Ellen Schmidt struggles against the repressive social norms of her era. During her childhood, Ellen forms close bonds with her father’s slaves. Unlike most people in her circle, Ellen abhors the practice of slavery, an attitude she maintains throughout her adult years. An arranged marriage at twenty-three forces Ellen to leave her childhood home. Though her husband Wilfred is kind to her, their relationship remains distant. As rumors of a civil war become more frequent, things begin to change. The war challenges long-held notions about slavery and only a few in Georgia are ready to accept the imminent change. Between personal loss and perils brought along by the war, Ellen remains hopeful that she will one day find the paradise she had always longed for.

In Finding Paradise, Jane Ver Mulm creates likable protagonists who fight against racial prejudice based on their convictions. As a young woman, Ellen makes up her mind on issues about marriage and slavery away from the dictates of the society around her. People’s opinions do not stop her from pursuing a relationship that she finds fulfilling. Secondary characters also play important roles in supporting main characters or bringing out their strengths. I liked that the novel was also unpredictable as Ellen’s life changed in different ways throughout the plot. The background of the on-going civil war creates a sense of apprehension as well as the promise of change. Finding Paradise is an amazing novel that explores important topics through inspiring characters.

Trudi LoPreto

The Civil War is just beginning and there are many changes taking place. Ellen has recently been married to a man much older than herself, someone picked out by her father. George and Mary are Ellen’s siblings and each is on a different path in life. George, believing that it is time to end slavery, has gone North and taken several of his family’s plantation blacks with him. Mary is married and refuses to believe there is any life but that of a prim and proper Southern lady. Ellen is left at the plantation and is faced with the hardship of watching her home burn, fighting off the Southern soldiers and being alone with only Amos, a prized and faithful slave to help her. There are amazing happenings during and after the war until a real paradise is finally found.

Finding Paradise by Jane Ver Mulm is the most perfect romantic historical story I have read in a long time. I really was pulled into the story and though the times were so difficult, I wanted to get into a time machine and make friends with Ellen and her family and friends. Finding Paradise is well written with emotion, love, danger, a clear description of the war and so much more. If you enjoy reading about the Civil War era, this book should be placed on top of your reading list. This is Jane Ver Mulm's first novel and I am strongly hoping that it will not be her last. Finding Paradise does not have a lot of pages, but it is packed full of story from beginning to end. Finding Paradise is a sure winner.