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The Only Way to Paradise Paperback – June 6, 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 204 pages
  • Publisher: O.W. Press (June 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 098362321X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0983623212
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,602,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

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, an historical epic, two suspense novels, five 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 four 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.

Customer Reviews

It is a complex story with interesting,strong characters.
April A. Renn
GG has done a wonderful job in bringing to life four very different women who find they have more in common than they think.
Alana L. Tompkins
The only complaint I had was that the storylines all sorted themselves out way too easily.
Marah A. Burke

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Yvonnew on January 7, 2012
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.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Michele Bell on 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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Alana L. Tompkins on 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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Heather Moore on 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.
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