The Paradise Guest House – Ellen Sussman


Jamie has returned to what she thought was paradise, the trouble is she had not really experienced the place fully to see its potential and beauty. She was there with Miguel and he had an important question for her.

Paradise was cruelly taken from her last time. There was an explosion.

It was a bomb.

She found Miguel. She could not save him. Something overtook her and she saved others. Until she needed saving herself.

That person was Gabe.

Gabe was in paradise to escape from his past, his grief.

Survival threw these two people together, now Jamie is back and she wants to say sorry and thank you.

Paradise is Bali. The explosion part of our recent past. The bomb really did go off. Paradise was broken, as were people’s lives, both physically and emotionally. Tourists and locals alike. Everyone lost someone or something. Can a place ever come back for that, reinvent itself? Reincarnate?

This book is in some ways a tribute to those who survived and especially those that did not. I learnt much about the island about the people about the aftermath of a terrorist attack. I was moved by such a background to base a story on. The characters for me were not as important as perhaps in some stories as the actual place itself. Bali was the main character. It jumped off the page lyrically in Ellen Sussman’s writing.

I learnt as Jamie began to heal her emotional scars which were very raw when she came back a year later. I learnt as Gabe healed his. And as Bali and it’s people began to see that life goes on, that everything can be reincarnated into something else better, more beautiful whilst holding onto the wonderful memory of past beauty and life.

This is a book which I can’t place. It has a love story at its core between two damaged individuals but actually that is a mere sub plot. It is a book about a place, about an event. I learnt more that way.

Thank you to the publisher for sending this book for an honest review.

This is the second book that I have read by this author and I was a bit wary about picking it up. The first French Lessons did nothing for me and I was left disappointed. Here I think the author has found her correct way with the writing, the story and the characters. I admit it is not a book that I would have ever picked up if it was not sent to me.

I have discovered something new.

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