Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot
When Charlotte meets Julia, she never imagines they’ll become anything more than just acquaintances, but after a few unusual run-ins, she’s being invited to dinner parties, meeting her family and falling in love with her brother, Sebastian. Thrown into a world of chaos and extravagance, Charlotte begins uncovering all that the Buchanan family has been keeping secret for so long.
The Great Gatsby is a story that will never die, at least not now that we have Leonardo DiCaprio to thank. Since the release of the reboot film, we’ve seen a bundle of new Gatsby-themed novels, Great being one I reviewed in the past. Unfortunate for me though, this little twist of a story that Chelsey Philpot put together sort of fell flat. There isn’t a lot to be said for it except that, just like in Gatsby, it follows someone who falls in love with the world of glitz and glam, along with its inhabitants harboring secrets darker than they can possibly imagine. The story only felt like it reversed the sexes of the characters and modernized it, but I didn’t feel like there were any differentiating qualities at all. Our main lead even has her own version of Jay’s “old sport,” and here it is “wicked.” There reached a point where I was so completely bored that I just started skimming, thinking I wouldn’t exactly miss much, and that’s how I found my way to the end.
To make matters even more complicated, Philpot introduced what felt like a thousand characters sporadically, and a majority of the time I was confused with who was who, when I was still interested in absorbing every detail of the novel. Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks that Julia and Jacqueline are too similar of names. Regardless, all the different names and faces created an uneven flow that I couldn’t keep up with, and embarrassingly, didn’t want to.
I don’t have much more to say about this novel because there was nothing about it that particularly drew me in, and I just didn’t feel it was strong in its attempt to do the classic tale justice. Die-hard fans of The Great Gatsby might be able to still enjoy this despite its faults, but it just didn’t do the trick for me.