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Learn what you need to know about Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise series here. This post shares the order, summaries, reviews, tips, and more. If you love a good beach read, you’ll love this guide to Elin Hilderbrand’s books, so let’s get literary!

elin hilderbrand's paradise series order infographic.

Elin Hilderbrand Paradise Series Order

  1. Winter in Paradise (2018)
  2. What Happens in Paradise (2019)
  3. Troubles in Paradise (2020)


Details of the Books in the Paradise Series Set on St. John

I’ve always been a big fan of author Elin Hilderbrand’s books, as well as authors like Elin Hilderbrand. While most of her books take place on her home island of Nantucket, Massachusetts, the Paradise series transports the reader to another desirable beach destination — the Caribbean Island of St. John!

There are some spoilers below since the Paradise series follows one storyline. However, I have tried to minimize spoilers describing the books.

Book #1 of 3: Winter in Paradise (2018)

  • National bestseller

My Review: ★★★☆☆

Winter in Paradise is the first of three books in Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise series. It’s a very different kind of book set in Winter, but it’s also one of Elin Hilderbrand’s best books.

Winter in Paradise will whisk you away to St. John for a change of scene. As a middle-aged Irene Steele rings in a cold Midwestern New Year, she learns that her beloved husband, Russ, who was away on “business,” was killed in a helicopter crash on the Caribbean island.

After Irene and her two sons, Baker and Cash, arrive at St. John, they discover that Russ was living a secret life involving some of the locals. In the process of coping with their shock and grief, they, too, begin to develop bonds with the islanders he knew.

It’s pure drama and winter escapism, with some heart. It’s a great “pool” read I still see being devoured at the pools I visit to this day.

Book #2 of 3: What Happens in Paradise (2019)

  • National bestseller

My Review: ★★★☆☆

What Happens in Paradise picks up shortly after Irene Steele and her sons learn that the patriarch of their family, Russ, has been living a double life on the island of St. John.

They return to St. John, where they become more entangled in the islanders’ lives and discover more questions surrounding Russ’s mysterious life and death.

This one has a very “middle of a trilogy” feel to it. It expands on the first book, but it also leaves a cliffhanger for the third and final book in the series. Hilderbrand writes in the beginning that it can be read as a standalone, but I think it works best after reading Winter in Paradise.

Book #3 of 3: Troubles in Paradise (2020)

  • #1 New York Times bestseller

In Troubles in Paradise, Irene is back in St. John, having uprooted her American life and settled into the villa of her deceased husband.

Yet again, Irene is delivered shocking news about her husband, via a visit from the FBI. As Irene and her sons try to create a fresh start for themselves, it becomes more clear that the helicopter crash that killed the patriarch of their family may not have been an accident after all.

The whole island is watching as an ominous story gathers strength in the Atlantic Ocean, threatening trouble.

All is finally revealed in this satisfying conclusion.

About Elin Hilderbrand


Elin Hilderbrand is one of the most famous book authors today. A Pennsylvania native and graduate of Johns Hopkins University, she also attended the University of Iowa writers workshop and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree.

Notably, she has three children, lives on Nantucket island (which often serves as the setting for her beachy romance novels), is a breast cancer survivor, and has a twin brother.

She planned to retire after her 30th book, Swan Song, is released on June 11, 2024. However, she has already signed a deal to co-author two books set at a New England boarding school with her daughter, Shelby Cunningham.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the order of the Winter in Paradise series by Elin Hilderbrand?

The order of the three books in the Winter in Paradise series by Elin Hilderbrand is: (1) Winter in Paradise (2018), (2) What Happens in Paradise (2019), and (3) Troubles in Paradise (2020).

Do you have to read Elin Hilderbrand Paradise books in order?

Yes, you have to read Elin Hilderbrand’s Paradise books in order of publication because they follow the same chronological plot: (1) Winter in Paradise (2018), (2) What Happens in Paradise (2019), and (3) Troubles in Paradise (2020).

What is the 3rd book in What Happens in Paradise?

Troubles in Paradise, published in 2020, is Elin Hilderbrand’s third and final book in the Winter in Paradise series. It concludes the story of the Steele family, who investigate the death of their patriarch on the island of St. John.

Is there a sequel to Winter in Paradise?

Yes. The sequel to Winter in Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand is What Happens in Paradise. It’s the second of three books in the fictional “Paradise” series, which continues to follow the Steele family as they navigate the death of their patriarch on the island of St. John.


The Elin Hilderbrand Paradise series order of three books is: (1) Winter in Paradise (2018); (2) What Happens in Paradise (2019); and (3) Troubles in Paradise (2020). Unlike her books that transport the reader to Nantucket, this series sweeps the reader away to tropical St. John, where the Steele family navigates the death of their patriarch and the mysteries left behind thereafter.

You can buy the books separately or as a full set on Amazon:

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