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Reviewed by Janelle Alex, Ph.D. for Readers' Favorite
Lindsey Paley wrote a romantic suspense in Ugly Paradise. In fact, to look at the cover it really says, "Beneath beauty, evil lurks...Ugly Paradise." Therefore, I anticipated a love story with the typical trials and tribulations most romance novels give you, but Paley laid out a different storyline. Katie Anderson doesn't know who she really is. She was attacked by a tiger in the jungles of Bali, and left to die. Rescued by locals, she recovered and spent the next five years wondering about her past as she built a new life in Bali. There she developed a romantic relationship with Todd, but the romance does not really stand out to me as the focus of Ugly Paradise. The main focus is on Katie discovering her identity and what happened to her. Dead end upon dead end make it seem as if she won't be able to discover her past, but a new friend, Zak, helps her uncover lead after lead. These finally lead to the truth and closure for Katie. In the process of seeking her past, Todd and she break up. The question remains until nearly the end whether or not they will reunite.
The cover of Ugly Paradise seems almost misleading. Yes, much of the story is set in beautiful Bali, but the core of the story is about Katie's search, which takes her away from the island paradise. I couldn't get a grip on the imagery and the feel of the rest of the book. I wanted to know more about the scenes as well as the deep traits of the main characters. However, the story has an overall good plot and kept me interested until the very end.