I love to travel. I've been to Ireland, Peru, Africa, Mexico, England and Wales. There are some wonderful places I want to go to again and some places I haven't seen yet, that I hope to before I die. Italy was never on my list as a place I wanted to go to see. I just never had the desire. That all changed, however, when I read The Only Way to Paradise by G.G. Vandagriff. Now Florence Italy has been added to my places to go and see.
Georgia, MacKenzie, Roxie and Sara, are four women who, because of upsets and tragedies in their lives started attending the same group therapy session together with the same therapist. After months of coming together to talk about their problems they've decided therapy isn't doing any good. Then Georgia has an idea. She invites all three women to go to visit Italy for a month, all expenses paid. It took some fast talking but she was finally able to get them all to agree to go.
When they arrive, one by one, they face their demons and begin to heal. Georgia lost her husband years ago and still grieves for him as if he died yesterday. MacKenzie's marriage is falling apart and her children are out of control. Sara is a doctor who loves to play the violin but never does anything about it, because it makes her feel guilty and Roxie, is a beutiful Cuban who hides her beuty behind baggy clothes. She is a reporter but has always wanted to write a book.
When they travel to Italy, one by one they begin to heal. They start accepted themselves for who they are and what they are meant to do, including, finding love again. Italy is the right place for romance and the four friends find that there is more to all of them than meets the eye. If they want to change, they have to change themselves and as the magic of Italy begins working it's wonder on them, they each transform into who they are supposed to be.
The Only Way to Paradise was a delightful read. The characters were very real. If you close your eyes and imagine, you can see yourself in each of them, or I could anway. Mrs. Vandagriff writes of Italy in such away that you dream of going there yourself. I could almost see the Michalangelo, the David and taste the cooking of the rich Italian food. As Roxie writes of her Isabella, I can picture her as a real person with real problems and as Sara plays the violin, I can almost hear the music.
The Only Way to Paradise was a wonderful, though provoking read that makes you think that if you just take a chance, everything you've ever dreamed of can be yours. Bravo Mrs. Vandagriff!
My rating: ****1/2 stars.