I’m a sucker for a good period drama. And The Paradise is the perfect fix when you’ve exhausted your appetite for Jane Austen adaptations. I had watched the first season a couple years ago and assumed I had finished all there was to be had of the narrative. But browsing through Netflix this past week I came across season two! I was thrilled to discover that the story could continue. I quickly embarked upon the second collection of episodes, which turned out to be dramatically more intense than the first.
Based on Émile Zola’s novel, Au Bonheur des Dames, The Paradise is set in North East England, in 1875, the fabulous period of bustles and neckties. The series opens upon a young, Scottish girl who arrives in town seeking work at her Uncle’s draper’s shop. But she soon finds herself swept up into the new, first-of-its kind, department store across the street, The Paradise. This decadent emporium houses all types of characters, including the dashing, charismatic manager, John Moray.
Upon falling into this tale you will find no shortage of drama, scandal and intrigue. Though I will say the first season is considerably more bearable in terms of tension than the second. I found myself having to take breaks between episodes in the second season, whereas season one I nearly binge watched in one day. But the characters are engaging and the setting, beautiful. Towards the end, the storyline feels rather political. But hold out, unlike those shows that tear out your heart and hurl it into the river, The Paradise ends on a happy note.