Even in Paradise – Chelsey Philpot


When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do… or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden… until now.


To tell you the truth, I do not know how I felt about this one. It was poetic and pensive; heavy in its meaning, but light in its purpose. I did not love it, nor did I particularly enjoy the reading experience. But I felt like it was important and I needed to go through this experience.

From the first words about The Buchanans, I felt like the author was a little full of it. As if a family could encompass so much feeling, so much tragedy, so much life. As if. And then somewhere along the next 256 pages, I proceeded to believe.

I expected a story of debauchery and fun. I expected highly political affairs and a fun romp in the world of old money. Instead, I got something deeper and darker. Charlie went through something much more meaningful than I expected. This family ate her up, swallowed her whole, and changed her forever. To her, it was all worthwhile. I doubt I would feel the same. I want to believe that Charlotte finds herself reunited with Julia, Sebastian, and the Buchanans again at some point. I want to believe that their lives are destined to collide.

But for the glamour, tragedy, and heaviness of this story, I bought it all. I suspended any inkling of disbelief because I wanted to believe that such a beautiful life, such a beautiful world, could exist.

Related Reading

  • The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald (of course)
  • We Were Liars – E. Lockhart (tragic and beautiful)
  • The History of Love – Nicole Krauss
  • Driftwood – Elizabeth Dutton

Rating: 3/5


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