Monday, April 1, 2013

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Paradise Guest House

Author: Ellen Sussman
Title: The Paradise Guest House
Publish Date: March 26, 2013
Publisher: Ballentine Books
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours & The Publisher
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
A riveting and poignant novel of one woman’s journey to Bali in search of love, renewal, and a place to call home—perfect for readers of Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love and Alex Garland’s The Beach.

It starts as a trip to paradise. Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an American adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island’s lush jungles and pristine white sand beaches. Yet three days after her arrival, she is caught in Bali’s infamous nightclub bombings, which irreparably change her life and leave her with many unanswered questions.

One year later, haunted by memories, Jamie returns to Bali seeking a sense of closure. Most of all, she hopes to find Gabe, the man who saved her from the attacks. She hasn’t been able to forget his kindness—or the spark between them as he helped her heal. Checking into a cozy guest house for her stay, Jamie meets the kindly owner, who is coping with a painful past of his own, and a young boy who improbably becomes crucial to her search. Jamie has never shied away from a challenge, but a second chance with Gabe presents her with the biggest dilemma of all: whether she’s ready to open her heart.

Review: When I started this book I mistakenly thought this might end up being something like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Boy was I wrong!

This isn't a novel of new beginnings, though by the end there are some. It is really more a novel of healing, and in The Paradise Guest House there are a lot of people that need to heal.

Jamie returns to Bali a year after she was injured in a terrorist attack. She lost her boyfriend in that attack, but she also gained a strange sort of intimacy with the man who saved her, Gabe.

Sussman's writing makes this topic, which isn't really a happy one, a pleasure to read.

She paints a vivid picture of Jamie returning to Bali, in search of the man that saved her as well as the day of the bombings and the aftermath.

You feel her fear and her strength

Gabe has healing to do, but not all of it has to do with the bombings. He lost his only son to meningitis four years prior and he still hasn't totally gotten over it, though no one can ever truly get over the lose of the child.

These two are really an unlikely pairing, but you come to see how they are perfect for each other.

For a novel that is rooted in sadness, it is a beautiful book and one I most definitely am glad that I read.

Rating: 5 flowers

About Ellen Sussman Ellen Sussman is the author of the novels French Lessons and On a Night Like This, both national bestsellers. She has two daughters and lives with her husband in Northern California. Connect with Ellen on Twitter and Facebook.


Heather J. @ TLC Book Tours said...

I also immediately thought of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel ... but I haven't seen it yet so I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

Sounds like the book IS great though! Thanks for being on the tour.

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