Thursday 21 March 2013

The Paradise Guest House by Ellen Sussman


Tour guide Jamie Hyde is in Bali with her boyfriend Miguel when two bombs explode in town. Both Jamie and Miguel are caught up in the horrific event and Jamie's life will never be the same again.

A year later and Jamie is returning to Bali. Her injuries have healed but she is still scarred, both physically and emotionally. After going against her mother's advice, Jamie returns to the country that changed her life forever. An event to commemorate a year passing since the attack has been organised and Jamie finds herself staying at the Paradise Guest House with a widower whose wife died during the bombings.

But this isn't the only reason Jamie is returning to Bali. Though she can't admit it to herself to begin with, Jamie is looking for a man, Gabe Winters.

At just over 250 pages, The Paradise Guest House is quite a quick read but it is packed with an emotional story of love, loss and survival. Told over three parts, we know Jamie initially arrived in Bali with her boyfriend Miguel but we aren't sure how Gabe is involved until the second part when the story shifts to the previous year, at the time of the bombings.

I loved the relationships that were formed within the book, from Jamie and Gabe to Jamie and her widowed host but my favourite friendship was between Jamie and Bambang, an anonymous boy who lives on the street. They don't get off to the best start but I found their bond touching and amusing. Bambang is a fantastic character; cheeky and caring yet guarded.

Jamie's story is both sad and inspiring and I thought she showed great strength and courage during the bombings and in returning a year later.

Thank you to Canvas for sending me a copy to review. I'll be taking part in Ellen Sussman's blog tour so look out for a guest post on Saturday!

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