A slight obsession with books

Reading and Fibrecrafts

The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman

1 Comment

This was posted to me by the publishers, Constable & Robinson, a couple of days ago. I do love getting books through the post especially when they’re a surprise.


This is not a book that I’d have picked up in the shop. There are so many books out there now that when I’m browsing in a bookshop, I first look for the authors that I know and love. If I don’t find anything there, I’ll just look for covers that catch my eye and if something looks promising, I’ll pick it up and read the blurb on the back. This cover would not have caught my eye. I can’t say why. I have very little idea what makes one cover stand out more than another but beach scenes don’t do it for me. What I’m saying here is that if I hadn’t been sent this book, I’d probably never  have read it. I’m glad I was sent it.

On reading the back cover blurb and the press release, I decided that it did sound interesting and was probably something I’d enjoy. This is what it says on the back:

It started as a trip to paradise…

Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white beaches. But it ends as something very different – a year on, she can still feel the heat and noise of the nightclub bombings.

Haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Checking into a cosy guest house, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who becomes crucial to her search.

She hasn’t been able to forget Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks – or the spark between them as he helped her heal. There’s a chance she might find him where she left him. A small chance. But even if she does, then what?

You wouldn’t guess from the cover that the book was centred around the Bali bombings, but it is. The story itself is more about loss, love, grief, acceptance and moving on, but the bombings are key to the plot. What I liked was that there was enough detail about the bombings to let you know how terrible they were, but without turning the book into something too dark and depressing. Mostly the story concentrated on Jamie, Gabe and Nyoman and their stories. It starts off a year after the bombings as Jamie returns to Bali for the memorial event. Part two goes back a year and fills in the details of what happened to our characters then, and returns to the present for part three.

Overall I enjoyed this. I liked the writing style, which was easy to fall into. You could tell the author had spent time in Bali doing her research as I felt like I was seeing with her eyes at times. I liked the ending. It didn’t tie up every loose end, it left some things to play out in your imagination. Sometimes I like that and in this book, it worked nicely.

Bali does sound lovely. I think it needs to be added to my bucket list.


Author: Carole

The books I read, the things I make, the places I go.

One thought on “The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman

  1. What a treat – and a good read to boot!


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