What is a summary of Almost Paradise by Susan Isaacs?

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tamarakh's profile pic

Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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Susan Isaacs' novel Almost Paradise details the tragic broken love story of Jane Colbeigh and Hollywood star Nicholas Colbeigh.

Isaac details a troubled childhood for Jane in which she loses her mother at an early and suffers abuse from her father. In contrast, Nicholas comes from a steady family with a name that has been important in New York since the Revolution. However, when his father wants to enlist in the CIA during World War II, he is thwarted by his wife, leading Nicholas to witness a marriage torn by animosity and his father taking solace in affairs.

Nicholas and Jane meet at Brown University, where Jane coaches him in undertaking an action role in a play. At first, though Jane falls in love with Nicholas, Nicholas only develops their relationship as a friendship because he is dating someone else. However, as the final days of his senior year approach, he begins to see he can't imagine his life without Jane and asks her to marry him; he also decides to undertake an acting career.

The first years of the marriage are rocky because Nicholas has been financially separated from his family, who can't bear the thought of having an actor in such an important family. The year they have their first child, he first makes a living as a cab driver but soon gets a break in his first movie role, leading to stardom. Meanwhile, due to her troubled childhood, Jane develops agoraphobia but is soon cured by a phobia clinic. But when Jane soon becomes a spokesperson for the clinic, Nicholas develops a sense of jealousy that drives a major wedge in their marriage.

Separated by affairs both members of the couple begin, Nicholas decides to leave the marriage. The novel ends tragically when, deciding she wants Nick back, Jane flies to London to speak with him but is run over by a car en route to his London studio and killed.

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shmindle's profile pic

shmindle | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 2) Honors

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"Almost Paradise" is a novel written by Susan Isaacs that follows the story of Nicholas and Jane. Jane had a very rough childhood. Her mother died when Jane was very young, which caused a stepmother to enter her life, who was very evil. The stepmother and father would abuse Jane. Nicholas on the other hand, lived a very well-off and affluent life. The two eventually meet at Brown University, when Nicholas is asked to join a play. Jane helps Nicholas with his lines, and soon they become great friends. At first, only Jane feels romantically tied, but soon Nicholas does too when he realizes that, as he is a senior, he will never see Jane again. They marry, but are off to a rocky start. Nicholas is cut off from his wealthy family, but then becomes a famous actor while Jane fights her panic attacks. After a long time of arguing, Nicholas leaves Jane for his mistress named Pamela. Jane is sad, but remembers that she also is cheating on Nicholas. After a year, Jane realizes her love for Nicholas and flies to his movie set in London. When she arrives, she is hit by a car and dies a few days later.

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