Elusive Hope
By Marylou Tyndal
Published by Barbour
319 Pages

Back Cover: Embark on an exotic adventure in Book 2 of the Escape to Paradise series from bestselling author MaryLu Tyndall. In the fledgling colony of New Hope, their friends struggle to create a Southern utopia in Brazil soon after the Civil War. But Hayden is seeking revenge—relentlessly. And Magnolia is seeking a way out—desperately. They both seek to use the other for their own purposes—deceptively. Falling in love was never part of their plans. . 

REVIEW:Thanks to The Book Club Network   for the review copy of the second book in the Escape to Paradise series. In book one Forsaken Dreams, the author introduces her cast of colorful displaced Southerners heading to a promised land. In Elusive Hope readers learn a about a few more passengers reason’s for seeking a fresh start. Many of these travelers wanted a do over, a place they can keep their honor, freedom, integrity and Southern ways. The first book in this series concentrated on Eliza’s story that included Colonel Blake Wallace’s journey. Elusive Hope starts out and concentrates on Magnolia Scott and Hayden Gale’s story.

Magnolia wants nothing to do with Brazil. She didn't want a do over or a new beginning. She wanted to go back home. She is a spoiled plantation owner’s daughter who hated her life in Brazil. She was determined to get back to Georgia and marry Samuel her fiancĂ©. “She didn't want to be with her parents. Constantly being belittled by her unloving, domineering father, who believes and has convinced Magnolia that her only worth is in her appearance. He gives her a mirror so she could make sure she’s always looking "perfect."

“Hayden Gales’ life's passion is "revenge." He’s made a living as a con man. He seeks to find his father whom he believes is responsible for the death of his mother.”

Hayden has told Colonel Blake Wallace – leader and organizer of the expedition to Brazil and decorated war hero married to Eliza Crawford; that he’s leaving the colony. He’s headed to Rio de Janeiro to search for someone. Not sure he’ll ever be back. They are saddened by his departure but understand and hope he’ll return.

Magnolia sees this as her chance to escape her parents control and this awful place. If she could just follow Hayden he’d lead her to Rio de Janeiro. There she could secure a passage to America and sail back to her Promised Land – Georgia. Magnolia was raised in an affluent home that had servants and plenty of money to buy beautiful dresses. She told herself, “Ladies don’t live in the jungle and dirty their dresses.” Little did she know what she had gotten herself into as she tried to follow Hayden without his knowledge.

Hayden is an experienced trapper. He has learned to protect himself since his mom died.  He sneaks up on Magnolia, “I heard you the minute you started following me, Princess. I figured if I gave you enough time you’d quit and go home. This isn't exactly a stroll through Battery Park.”

“Well, you’re right about that. It’s an absolute oven or hell. I can’t decide which. A rather large insect has decided I’m his next meal and apparently, has invited all his relatives to the feast. I have blisters on my feet..and my shoulders ache from carrying my valise and shoving aside these interminable leaves.”

This author pens a hilarious adventure through the jungle as Magnolia and Hayden fight nature and each other. Hayden experienced tracker and Magnolia a prim and proper lady. I could imagine being there watching this journey unfold. I smiled big and laughed out loud in parts. This was a blast to read.

This author has great characterization, interesting plot twists, well-timed humor with a splash of romance, all blended together with a believable non-preachy spiritual thread. Thrown in the mix were a few surprises, a gripping drama, mysterious happenings in a cave, unnerving visions the colonialists were having that rock their world. I was captivated; hook, line and sinker right from the start. I enjoyed this story more than the first with its battles, pirates, the search for buried treasure and so much more. This New Hope colony was off to a rough start. Will they learn to pull together and help each other battle the demons each of them had inside or will they give up and go home? Will Hayden find who he’s searching for? Will Magnolia survive the jungle and secure her passage to America – her Promised Land?

 Magnolia keeps calling Hayden a toad and he calls her Princess. This refers to a story she learned as a kid that reminds her of Hayden. The author includes the full story of The Maiden and the Frog at the end of the book. I loved this adventure more than the first. Book one is a must read; it’s a great set up book for this exciting adventure. I can’t wait to read book three the conclusion to The Escape to Paradise series where I hope to learn about the mysterious visions people were having, more about the villagers, buried treasure and so on. I highly recommend this book it’s a great read and will be so much fun for book club. You’ll want to add this to your reading list for sure. I enjoyed every second. It’s a must read! Make sure you make time to read this book it’s a keeper.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
Book Fun Magazine
The Book Club Network blog


  1. Bless you, Nora!! Thank you for another incredibly insightful review!! So glad you enjoyed Hayden and Magnolia's journey!

    1. I didn't think you could top book one Forsaken but I was wrong!! BAM!! It was Amazing, humorous, and funny! LOVED IT!