Start reading The Only Way to Paradise on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Enter a promotion code
or gift card
 
 
 

Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

The Only Way to Paradise (The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

G. G. Vandagriff
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $8.99
Kindle Price: $2.99
You Save: $6.00 (67%)

If you buy a new print edition of this book (or purchased one in the past), you can buy the Kindle edition for only $0.99 (Save 67%). Print edition purchase must be sold by Amazon. Learn more.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $2.99  
Paperback $8.99  
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
Of all of Jane Austen's novels, Emma is perhaps the one that has most frequently been re-set in modern trappings: This 21st century Miss Woodhouse moves in a sphere recognizable to Janeites that will delight equally those unfamiliar with England's Regency era. Learn more | See more Jane Austen related items

Book Description

“Unforgettable!”

“What is that hard to define quality that makes a book memorable? Is it complex and interesting characters? Is it a captivating plot with unexpected twists and turns? Maybe it's the setting and the "feel" of the book. Or, perhaps, it's the ability to connect with the story, tap into that magical "relatability" factor that lingers long after the last page has been read.

Any one of these elements is vital to a story, but rarely do we find books that have all of these qualities. However, The Only Way to Paradise is such a book.”–Michele Bell, Best-Selling Romance Author. (Five Stars)

What causes picture-perfect suburban Oakwood residents, MacKenzie, Roxie, Sara, and Georgia to desert their therapist and fly off to Florence? Answer: A romantic Italian movie that prompts Roxie to ask: “If Italy is so healing and therapeutic what are we doing in Ohio?”

Even Sara, the most duty-bound of the group, finally joins the pact they dub “The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood,” and only a week later, they find themselves in Florence. Embraced by the entire province of Tuscany, each woman becomes entangled in experiences she could never have foretold. Not only do they find the fascinating Italian men that Georgia promised, but new sides to themselves and each other.

Against the glittering background of Florence, their dramas play out:

MacKenzie returns to her student days as an art historian, discarding her identity as the controlling Oakwood charity patron and society hostess. Renewing her acquaintance with the David, she vows to let herself be sculpted rather than trying to sculpt others. MacKenzie finds not only a new talent, but a new man who appreciates it, just as her husband decides to re-enter her life.

Roxie, who has always approached life as a circus, is drawn unwillingly into a passionate romance with a gorgeous Italian professor, Stefano. Her physical response to Stefano taps into lost memories, causing her to literally run from him. Roxie, a quirky and colorful Cubana, senses danger in visions and smells that resurface of a rotting summerhouse behind her Florida home. With his nurturing and passionate love, Stefano helps her to face the “broken piece” inside her.

Sara unveils part of her that no one but her instructors know. She is an extraordinarily talented concert violinist. Normally trapped in the demanding life of an ob-gyn (scripted for her by her Vietnamese immigrant parents), she is temporarily freed. She performs for others for the first time, and experiences unprecedented joy. However, the coping mechanism she used to handle the pressure of her job threatens to destroy her new life.

Georgia, a grieving widow, processes her life without Ben and without her violin career that ended early because of arthritis. Looking for a new passion in life, she finds that satisfaction comes to her in “giving back” to those around her the lessons and knowledge she has learned through her successes and mistakes in La Dolce Vita. Just as her perspective is changing, she reunites with her first love, Arturo, and must make a decision about the direction of her future life.

Though ages have passed since the rebirth called the Renaissance, Florence still inspires change by breathing out its creative mix of energy, beauty, and courage. Where Michelangelo “set free” the David by sculpting a block of marble, each “crazy lady” finds her exterior “Oakwood” self burnished away by new experiences, revealing a new self. This burnishing is not a gentle process, but exuberant Italians help them through it with their all-embracing agape, or unconditional love. Though they do not know it, each of them hungers for agape’s healing power. They discover in it a balm that binds them together and puts them on the road to recovery, the road that is “The Only Way to Paradise.”

Note: All the errors in an earlier production of this book (was only for sale for two days) have been corrected.


Editorial Reviews

Review

Unforgettable
"What is that hard to define quality that makes a book memorable? Is it complex and interesting characters? Is it a captivating plot with unexpected twists and turns? Maybe it's the setting and the "feel" of the book. Or, perhaps, it's the ability to connect with the story, tap into that magical "relatability" factor that lingers long after the last page has been read.
Any one of these elements is vital to a story, but rarely do we find books that have all of these qualities. However, The Only Way to Paradise is such a book."-Michele Bell, Best-Selling Romance Author. (Five Stars)

From the Author

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
 
            In this novel, four women find refuge in the little heaven that is called Residenza Betta in Florence. Though they are figments of my imagination, the Residenza is not.  Elisabetta, her son Cosimo, and his lovely Adriana are all very real and very dear to me.  They are my second family, and I miss them when we are apart.
"Betta" insists on mothering me, though I am the age of her own mother. An act that typifies her is when she picked up an opera ticket for me on her motorscooter in the rain when I could have gotten it for myself. She feeds me, she scolds me, and she surveys all my purchases to make certain I haven't been cheated.
Cosimo is now in another hotel, learning his trade, even though he could make much more money as a gorgeous Italian actor. I tell Adriana, his fiancée, to keep him away from Hollywood.
The lovely Adriana is a 21st century incarnation of Renaissance artist Fra. Fillipo Lippi's atypical Madonna model.  She is tall and slender, fair with beautiful brown eyes.  My son took one look at her and said, "If things don't work out with Cosimo, I'm your man."  Adriana and I tell each other our secrets and giggle together like sisters.
Milano 25 is a real taxi and you can read about its amazing driver on the Internet.  Lastly, I did fall on the concrete pavement, and was treated just as gently by a much younger version of Roberto.  I believe agape is a genetic component of all Italians.
I write this in this happy house that has given me so much pleasure in Florence.
G.G. Vandagriff
February, 2011

Product Details

  • File Size: 682 KB
  • Print Length: 205 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Orson Whitney Press (June 7, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0054ZELHO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #449,612 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and cheesy January 7, 2012
By Yvonnew
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very cheesy and disappointing. Also full of errors - not sure whether this is only on the Kindle version or whether it was not proofed properly prior to being published. At certain points the character called Kurt is referred to as Ted! Could have been a great story but unfortunately just not well written.
Was this review helpful to you?
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unforgettable! June 16, 2011
Format:Paperback
What is that hard to define quality that makes a book memorable? Is it complex and interesting characters? Is it a captivating plot with unexpected twists and turns? Maybe it's the setting and the "feel" of the book. Or, perhaps, it's the ability to connect with the story, tap into that magical "relatability" factor that lingers long after the last page has been read.

Any one of these elements is vital to a story, but rarely do we find books that have all of these qualities. However, The Way to Paradise is such a book.

Four women: Georgia, Roxie, MacKenzie and Sara meet in a therapy group. Each woman is dealing with issues in her life that have finally pushed her to the point where she seeks help to come to terms with it. Their sessions allow small fragments of deeply rooted problems to surface, giving the reader glimpses into each woman's past and current struggle. The more we learn them, the more attached we become.

After watching the movie Enchanted April, Roxie throws out the comment that they should all be in Florence, Italy. Georgia, who takes on the role of matriarch, jumps on the idea, admitting that she too had thought that the women should go to Florence, Italy together since Florence is a place where they would be able to grow and heal and renew themselves. As the idea is batted around between the four women, it takes wings, and the next thing they know, they are walking away from their complicated lives and flying to Florence.

For those who have traveled to this timeless and breathtaking city, you will feel like you have returned. For those who have never been there, you will feel like you are seeing it with your own eyes. Vandagriff has done an extraordinary job of bringing the city to life in her story.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Would love to be in Paradise June 14, 2011
Format:Paperback
I have had the opportunity to read several of GG Vandagriff's novels and I have to admit I have never been disappointed. Her versatility in her genres leave the reader wanting more.
The "Only Way to Paradise" touches every woman in one way or another. Each of her characters seem to be in all of us, their attitudes, their wants and desires, their capabilities, their dreams and hopes. There will be the few exceptions who might find some of the material difficult to read through, touching a nerve that some would rather have left alone, but the outcome is not unrealistic in all four of these women's lives. There is love in paradise as well as awakenings of who they are. Without giving away the plot, I would only say that I wish I were on the trip with these women to Italy and to find the peace of mind and soul through their opportunities in the gorgeous settings in Italy. I look forward to any sequels she might have in store for us surrounding each of these women. I want to know where they went from Italy, how their lives have been altered once they return home. I want to know who remains in love, who follows their dreams, who faces their demons and overcomes them. GG has done a wonderful job in bringing to life four very different women who find they have more in common than they think.
I highly recommend this book to all who want to find a different kind of adventure between the covers of their book.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling! June 14, 2011
Format:Paperback
Author G.G. Vandagriff returns to women's fiction with a flourish by the release of her new series, The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood (2011). With several notable and award-winning works credited to Vandagriff's name, readers will relish this first volume, as they escape alongside the characters and indulge in all things Italian. Every writer would love to travel to the destination of their novel, and G.G. has done just that, enabling her to integrate the hum of Italian life as few others have. Spending months in Florence over a period of a couple of years, she crafted The Only Way to Paradise, a thought-provoking novel that follows four women as they try to make sense of their failing group therapy.

Each of the four women has their own dark valley to cross, but they have one thing in common--their therapy group has become toxic in more ways than one. Dissatisfied with the non-results, they band together in an unprecedented move, and decide to travel to Florence together. Using Enchanted April as inspiration, Roxie asks her friends, "If Italy is so healing and therapeutic what are we doing in Ohio?"

Mother-figure, Georgia, embraces the idea and encourages the women to seek solace in Florence--to lose themselves in all things Florence--in order to discover what path to take in each of their twisting lives.

Florence might seem the ideal location for any woman to rejuvenate her soul, but some of the women have haunting ties connected to the vibrant city. Reservations have to be overcome as the four women form endearing friendships, serendipitously calling themselves, "The Crazy Ladies of Oakwood.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read. I loved the friendship bonds between the ...
Good read. I loved the friendship bonds between the girls all going thru there own issues but taking the time to help each other out,
Published 8 days ago by Beth
4.0 out of 5 stars well written
The story weaves the lives of 4 different women into one intermingled story. The writer does a good job of telling each story uniquely but also as a whole story.
Published 3 months ago by moddmom
4.0 out of 5 stars fun read
Found this an intriguing book on many levels. Liked the description of places and people. Interesting idea to bring in the mental illness. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Kate Rose
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed their journey as they strove for more meaningful lives
A short summer jaunt to Italy with twists and turns involving the mental health of the 4 friends traveling together. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars hope for those in pain with a lightness and love that makes a great...
I enjoyed finding each person's hurt and how it was affecting their lives. Healthy decisions lead to healthier outlooks. Read more
Published 8 months ago by B. Smith
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring romance
Predictable romance novel every character was beautiful and talented. With perfect bodies, yeah right. The setting in Florence was nice but a little pretentious of the author. Read more
Published 9 months ago by L. Lawton
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative
It was a great book that touched on so many great issues. I really enjoyed reading it and being entertained.
Published 9 months ago by ibbabs97
2.0 out of 5 stars hard to follow
Not my favorite! Very little plot in this book. The characters are all mixed up and seem to being going no where.
Published 12 months ago by Doris Bonvino
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye opening romance novel
This author writes with first hand experience dealing with the thoughts and wild emotions of a person who has under gone the terror of bipolar personality disorder. Read more
Published 13 months ago by AJ
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, inspiring and helpful
I read this as my young-adult son began (another) bout with depression. You were my comforter, teacher and friend thru this difficult time. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Author

I realize that I am one of those rare people in the world who gets to live a life full of passion, romance, suspense, angst, fulfillment, humor, and mystery. I am a writer. Every day when I sit down at my computer, I enter into a world of my own making. I am in the head of a panoply of characters ranging from a nineteen-year-old Austrian debutante (The Last Waltz) to a raging psychopath (The Arthurian Omen) and four women at once in The Only Way to Paradise. Then there are the feisty heroines of my Regency romances . . .

I am a traditionally published,award-winning, best-selling writer who has recently gone Indie. I enjoy genre-hopping, having published a genealogical mystery series, two women's fiction novels, two historical romances, two suspense novels, seven Regency romances, and a couple of non-fiction offerings.

With a BA from Stanford and an MA from George Washington University in International Relations, I somehow stumbled into finance. But, once my husband was through law school, I never wanted to do anything but write and raise kids. Now the kids are gone, but (even better) there are five grandchildren who provide my rewards for finishing a manuscript.

Aside from the grandchildren, my favorite things include: Florence, Italy; snow storms; Oreos; real hot chocolate; sweaters; Sundance Resort; lilacs; and dachshunds.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category