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HomeNewsArchives'AYLA'S PARADISE' IS ONE VIRGIN ISLANDERS KNOW

'AYLA'S PARADISE' IS ONE VIRGIN ISLANDERS KNOW

Ayla's Paradise
by Esther Slade
Robert D. Reed, 145 pp, $11.95

Nov. 9, 2001 – Esther Slade is a native Crucian, and therein lies much of the charm of this slim work of fiction. Those of us who live in the Virgin Islands will more than likely feel a warm appreciation for this writer who gets the facts right. The characters are realistic; the places on St. Croix exist and are recognizable. This provides an ideal setting for the story, a West Indian romance.
Life is not all mangos and bananas for Ayla, who is 9 years old when her beloved mother dies. Her twin brothers, four years her junior, are hers to mother, with all that this entails. Their father is devoted to them but works long hours to provide for them with little time to spare. Life is hard for Ayla, merely a child herself, but she manages to do it all, boggling our minds.
The family is a religious one; the children attend their church school and are devoutly Christian. A sensitive picture is drawn of the love and care given West Indian children, not only by their families but by neighbors and friends. The village in which they live, Paradise, is situated near Frederiksted, and Slade's description brings it to life in bright Caribbean colors.
This is a story of a girl who leaves her island home for the first time to attend college in Philadelphia. The ups and downs she experiences, the sources of courage and determination that sustain her and impel her forward, are familiar to us. We find ourselves wishing her to succeed.
Ayla comes home to teach school and meets her handsome prince on the beach at Cramer's Park, where the Cruzan Rum and reggae music enhance the high spirits at the annual Teachers Picnic. Her saga is off and running.
Writers from Will Shakespeare to Sidney Sheldon remind us that life is like today's stock market, with exhilarating highs and crushing lows. So it is with Ayla Walker Johnson. I think Virgin Islands readers, in particular, will enjoy taking the journey with her.
"Ayla's Paradise" is available at Dockside Bookshop in Havensight Mall on St. Thomas. To check out other Dockside favorites, click here.

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Ayla's Paradise
by Esther Slade
Robert D. Reed, 145 pp, $11.95

Nov. 9, 2001 - Esther Slade is a native Crucian, and therein lies much of the charm of this slim work of fiction. Those of us who live in the Virgin Islands will more than likely feel a warm appreciation for this writer who gets the facts right. The characters are realistic; the places on St. Croix exist and are recognizable. This provides an ideal setting for the story, a West Indian romance.
Life is not all mangos and bananas for Ayla, who is 9 years old when her beloved mother dies. Her twin brothers, four years her junior, are hers to mother, with all that this entails. Their father is devoted to them but works long hours to provide for them with little time to spare. Life is hard for Ayla, merely a child herself, but she manages to do it all, boggling our minds.
The family is a religious one; the children attend their church school and are devoutly Christian. A sensitive picture is drawn of the love and care given West Indian children, not only by their families but by neighbors and friends. The village in which they live, Paradise, is situated near Frederiksted, and Slade's description brings it to life in bright Caribbean colors.
This is a story of a girl who leaves her island home for the first time to attend college in Philadelphia. The ups and downs she experiences, the sources of courage and determination that sustain her and impel her forward, are familiar to us. We find ourselves wishing her to succeed.
Ayla comes home to teach school and meets her handsome prince on the beach at Cramer's Park, where the Cruzan Rum and reggae music enhance the high spirits at the annual Teachers Picnic. Her saga is off and running.
Writers from Will Shakespeare to Sidney Sheldon remind us that life is like today's stock market, with exhilarating highs and crushing lows. So it is with Ayla Walker Johnson. I think Virgin Islands readers, in particular, will enjoy taking the journey with her.
"Ayla's Paradise" is available at Dockside Bookshop in Havensight Mall on St. Thomas. To check out other Dockside favorites, click here.