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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
Lost Souls of Paradise by Ian Ritchie Stewart is an engaging story with a strong appeal for readers who enjoy sophisticated characters and stories that are psychologically and emotionally rich. It features a cast of colorful characters and explores realistic themes and experiences that are part of the life of every society. The protagonist is Jillian Dougherty, a professional nurse who is manipulated by a dubious man, Oran “Paddy” Broslen, and who goes on a drinking adventure that leaves her alone in an unfamiliar place, with her credit cards and identification papers gone. She has to make her way back to Key West alone at night. But this is just the beginning of the troubles that drive her to near madness, making her become a dropout. She reinvents herself as Chastity Marrow and eventually meets Ethan Hall, who seems respectable. Can this be a new start for her or another escapade that will leave her in dire straits?
This is a novel with a lot of interesting material for readers to enjoy, exploring the consequences of a young nurse’s naivety and how her choices affect a father who cares about her. This is a well-crafted story with characters that I loved. The female protagonist goes through a lot of suffering by trusting the wrong man. The story is written in beautiful prose and the descriptions are terrific. I enjoyed how the author allows the humanity of the characters to come out in the story. The protagonist is a character that is exciting and aroused my curiosity at different levels, making me want to know what will become of her. Her descent into psychosis is a journey of disintegration that allows her to transform herself into someone new. The narrative is done in an arresting voice and I enjoyed the complexity in the plot. There are subplots that are well-crafted and enrich Ian Ritchie Stewart’s use of suspense. The story of William Dougherty, for instance, is spice in the plot and the protagonist’s father is a character that I also followed keenly. Lost Souls of Paradise is an interesting and engaging story with characters that readers will want to follow; it feels real.