In the Heart of Paradise

The Rainier Series Book 3

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
262 Pages
Reviewed on 10/27/2021
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jennifer Donovan for Readers' Favorite

In the Heart of Paradise is the third book in the Rainier Series by Jamie McGillen. While it could be enjoyed on its own, In the Heart of Paradise builds upon the story told in the previous two installments, so it is best read after In Sight of the Mountain and In Light of the Summit. In this third book, Anna is now pregnant, and while she feels she should be elated, she is filled with doubt. How will a baby impact her ability to climb Mount Rainier? Is she ready to be a mother? While Anna struggles internally with this unplanned surprise, Elizabeth, twice rejected and struggling with obsessive tendencies, fights for control of her mind. Her lifelong dream is to follow in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, but after a disaster, she finds herself crippled by a new phobia that may put her aspirations in jeopardy. When a new man enters her life, she is compelled to push him away, convinced that her mental illness will lead to a life of solitude.

In the Heart of Paradise maintains the overarching theme of the series by empowering its female characters to break the norm and challenge those who seek to stifle them. Set in the 1890s, the book addresses Anna's and Elizabeth’s challenges with mental health when societal expectations of women further complicate these matters. Readers who are pregnant or who have been pregnant will be able to empathize with Anna’s anxiety and doubts. She is stricken with a fear of causing harm to the baby growing inside her through overexertion, but she feels she cannot waste away at home without losing a part of herself. Furthermore, readers will feel Elizabeth’s mental illness almost physically, experiencing the tingling in her extremities and the panic that consumes her. With characters so admirable yet raw, I have come to love each of them in my time spent reading the series, and I hope that I can raise my own daughter to be as independent and true to herself as the unbreakable women Jamie McGillen has created.

Pikasho Deka

In the Heart of Paradise is the third installment of The Rainier Series by Jamie McGillen. Set in the late 19th century, it follows two women who battle their inner insecurities and a prejudiced patriarchal society to live their own lives. After her boyfriend leaves her for another woman, eighteen-year-old Elizabeth suffers from self-doubt and shaky nerves that hamper her from pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse. Meanwhile, Anna, an avid mountaineer, is plagued by nightmares of an old nemesis pushing her off a mountain. Pregnant with bouts of nausea that threaten to overwhelm her, Anna is determined to prove herself equal to any man, much to the chagrin of her old-fashioned doctors. When it's time for her to give birth, Anna seeks the help of Elizabeth. Can Elizabeth rise to the occasion?

Full of heart and a strong sense of sisterhood, In the Heart of Paradise is guaranteed to please readers who love women-centric stories featuring strong and independent women. Author Jamie McGillen touches upon mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and gives an accurate portrayal of how those issues were handled in the 19th century. Anna and Elizabeth are both well-realized characters, and their relationships with their friends and family form the bedrock of the narrative. Elizabeth's evolution from a timid teenager struggling with her nerves to a self-assured young woman who isn't afraid to deliver another woman's child makes for a captivating character arc. If you enjoy slice-of-life stories focused on strong women, In the Heart of Paradise is the book for you.

Jennifer Ibiam

Set in the mid to late eighteen hundreds, In the Heart of Paradise by Jamie McGillen showcases the lives of two women. Elizabeth modeled herself after Florence Nightingale and wanted to be a nurse. But she battled Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and a phobia, making her seem strange. The doctors didn't have a name for these issues, and she feared institutionalization. Anna loved the outdoors, from hiking to hunting and adventure. She enjoyed these activities with her husband. However, she fell pregnant at the "wrong time" because of the associated confinement. The odds were against her, as everyone tried to push Anna out of the committees that she belonged to. It felt like her pregnancy was a disease. Will Anna rise above the projected limitations? Will Elizabeth fulfill her dreams of becoming a nurse?

In the Heart of Paradise by Jamie McGillen is the third installment in The Rainer Series. It was a beautiful book that will appeal to every woman told that she couldn't do it. I loved the brilliant plot, unique storyline, and remarkable character development. Anna's situation was realistic because female limitations remain a valid topic. I see it in the cooperate world, sporting industry, showbiz, and everywhere else. Once a woman gets pregnant, she's believed to be out of the game. Also, I appreciate Jamie's insight on OCD and Liz's sudden phobia. There are many people out there who go through the same thing. But all it takes is determination and courage to achieve anything. Jamie told an interesting story filled with memorable protagonists and supporting characters. Please, write more!