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About The Book

Christina Lauren, the instant New York Times bestselling and “reigning romance queens” (PopSugar), returns with a delicious new romance between the buttoned-up heir of a grocery chain and his free-spirited artist ex as they fake their relationship in order to receive a massive inheritance.

Anna Green thought she was marrying Liam “West” Weston for access to subsidized family housing while at UCLA. She also thought she’d signed divorce papers when the graduation caps were tossed, and they both went on their merry ways.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist living paycheck to paycheck while West is a Stanford professor. He may be one of four heirs to the Weston Foods conglomerate, but he has little interest in working for the heartless corporation his family built from the ground up. He is interested, however, in his one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. There’s just one catch.

Due to an antiquated clause in his grandfather’s will, Liam won’t see a penny until he’s been happily married for five years. Just when Liam thinks he’s in the home stretch, pressure mounts from his family to see this mysterious spouse, and he has no choice but to turn to the one person he’s afraid to introduce to his one-percenter parents—his unpolished, not-so-ex-wife.

But in the presence of his family, Liam’s fears quickly shift from whether the feisty, foul-mouthed, paint-splattered Anna can play the part to whether the toxic world of wealth will corrupt someone as pure of heart as his surprisingly grounded and loyal wife. Liam will have to ask himself if the price tag on his flimsy cover story is worth losing true love that sprouted from a lie.

Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Paradise Problem includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Anna Green thought she was marrying Liam “West” Weston for access to subsidized family housing while at UCLA. She also thought she’d signed divorce papers when the graduation caps were tossed and they both went on their merry ways.

Three years later, Anna is a starving artist living paycheck to paycheck, while Liam is a Stanford professor. He may be one of four heirs to the Weston Foods conglomerate, but he has little interest in working for the heartless corporation his family built from the ground up. He is interested, however, in his one-hundred-million-dollar inheritance. There’s just one catch.

Due to an antiquated clause in his grandfather’s will, Liam can’t claim the money until he’s been happily married for five years. Just when Liam thinks he’s in the homestretch, pressure mounts from his family to see this mysterious spouse, and he has no choice but to turn to the one person he’s afraid to introduce to his one-percenter parents—his unpolished, not-so-ex wife.

But in the presence of his family, Liam sees his fears quickly shifting from whether the feisty, foul-mouthed, paint-splattered Anna can play the part to whether the toxic world of wealth will corrupt someone as pure of heart as his surprisingly grounded and loyal wife. Liam will have to ask himself if the price tag on his flimsy cover story is worth losing true love that sprouted from a lie.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. At the beginning of their relationship, Anna and Liam meet and get married with the sole objective of securing family housing at their university, and have no intention of pursuing romance. Discuss the “marriage of convenience” trope and how it affected your understanding of Anna and Liam’s relationship. Were there other tropes present in the book?

2. Family is a core reason behind both main characters’ personalities and communication styles. Where do you see Anna’s behavior reflecting her upbringing with a supportive, emotionally available single father? Where do you see Liam’s behavior reflecting his overbearing, emotionally absent parents and siblings?

3. Liam offers Anna a hundred thousand dollars to come to Indonesia with him to pose as if the two have been happily married for five years in order to secure his inheritance from his grandfather, and Anna accepts so that she can use the money to pay off her father’s medical debt and have a more comfortable life as a struggling artist. What do you think you would do if you were presented with this offer? What circumstances might encourage you to take it or turn it down?

4. As the sexual tension between Liam and Anna grows, so does the familial tension with Liam’s family. What do you make of these two dynamics playing off of each other throughout the book? How does each type of tension culminate, and how do those results affect each other?

5. The comedic banter between the two main characters offers shining moments throughout the novel as Anna and Liam warm up to each other, first as friends and then as romantic partners. What did you think was the funniest scene in the book?

6. A common theme in The Paradise Problem is that money can’t buy happiness. As wealthy as Liam’s family is, they are continuously angry, upset, or irritated with one another and other people on the island despite being surrounded by decadence. At which points in the story can you see that the family’s exorbitant wealth has negatively affected each member? How do Anna’s personality and life circumstances serve as the antithesis to the Weston family’s?

7. Toward the end of the novel, Liam is finally forced to choose between embracing his family’s toxic wealth and taking a job he never wanted, and giving up his inheritance in order to pursue a path he believes in. How do you think his history and current relationship with Anna impact his decision?

8. It’s revealed that Liam’s father made Liam take the fall for his own corrupt business practices in order to maintain his job as CEO, which permanently fractures his relationship with his son and causes Liam to not speak with his father for years. How do you think you would react if a loved one publicly threw you under the bus for their mistakes, even if on a smaller scale? Would you be able to show forgiveness, or would you distance yourself from them?

9. Blaire, Liam’s sister-in-law, is one of the only members of the Weston family who accepts Anna, an outsider, when she comes to the island. She is outspoken, often raunchy, and is quick to acknowledge the ridiculous behavior of the Weston family. However, she also clearly values the wealth of the family that she married into and relies on it heavily. What did you make of Blaire’s character and her relationship with money?

10. Sibling dynamics play a crucial role in the unfolding of the plot of The Paradise Problem. Alex is the groveling, jealous oldest sibling; Liam is the responsible and authentic second oldest; Jake is the lighthearted jokester; and Charlie is the pampered and free-spirited baby of the family. How do these attitudes interact and often times clash with one another? If you have siblings, how would you describe your sibling dynamics?

11. The alternating points of view in The Paradise Problem give the reader a front-row seat to Anna and Liam’s burgeoning relationship, as well as their character development. How do you think Anna and Liam would have been portrayed if the story had been told from the point of view of Blaire? Alex? Jake? Reagan?

12. The ending of the book takes the reader through the months and years following Anna and Liam’s trip to Indonesia. Instead of finding an immediate happy ending, the two grow their relationship and overcome hurdles together before finally agreeing to a real marriage. What did you make of this ending? Did you think it was realistic? Did you like that it went beyond the plot of the island wedding to explore who Anna and Liam were outside of that setting?

Enhance Your Book Club

1. The Paradise Problem is set on a lush, tropical island, and Anna seizes every moment to savor that beauty while taking a break from the hardships of her life back home. Discuss your ideal vacation destinations with your group. Would you want to bring a partner, friend, or family member with you on your dream vacation, or would you want to travel solo?

2. Family arguments abound among the Weston family. Recall a time that you had a disagreement with a family member. How did you resolve it? What did it teach you about your relationship with that family member moving forward?

3. Who would you want to see cast in a movie or TV adaptation of The Paradise Problem? Discuss your choices with the group for the roles of Anna, Liam, and the rest of the Weston family.

About The Author

Photograph by Brystan Studios

Christina Lauren is the combined pen name of longtime writing partners and best friends Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the New York TimesUSA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling authors of the Beautiful and Wild Seasons series, Autoboyography, Love and Other Words, Roomies, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, The UnhoneymoonersThe Soulmate EquationSomething Wilder, and The True Love Experiment. You can find them online at ChristinaLaurenBooks.com or @ChristinaLauren on Instagram.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Gallery Books (May 14, 2024)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668017722

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Raves and Reviews

“THE PARADISE PROBLEM is Christina Lauren at their very best—which also happens to be very best of the romance genre! The steam sizzles, the setting dazzles, the humor sparkles, and the characters give us no choice but fall head over heels for them. Another masterpiece from the queens of romance!“

New York Times bestselling author Ali Hazelwood

“THE PARADISE PROBLEM is Christina Lauren at their very best—which also happens to be very best of the romance genre! The steam sizzles, the setting dazzles, the humor sparkles, and the characters give us no choice but fall head over heels for them. Another masterpiece from the queens of romance!“

New York Times bestselling author Ali Hazelwood

“Every time I read a new Christina Lauren book I swear it is my favorite…but I suppose that’s what happens when each novel is even more delightful than the last. I loved THE PARADISE PROBLEM so much I found myself procrastinating just so I wouldn’t reach the end.”

– Jodi Picoult

"If Succession was a rom-com: Fake dating, steamy romance, and a family you’ll want to throw into the ocean, The Paradise Problem is sure to be a new fan favorite!"

– Julie Soto, author of Forget Me Not

"Another Christina Lauren book to absolutely inhale like a breath of the freshest, funniest air, this one had me laughing in delight even as I clutched my chest for all the emotion it made me feel. Splashy, summery, deliciously swoony--The Paradise Problem is the book I predict everyone will be reading this season"

– Kate Clayborn, author of Georgie, All Along

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