Sent on assignment to Bali, Jamie, an adventure guide, imagines spending weeks exploring the island's lush jungles and pristine white sand 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. 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.
There's a chance she might find him where she left him. A small chance. But even if she does, then what?
I've never read any of Ellen Sussman's books before but when I first started hearing about The Paradise Guest House I knew it was a book that I definitely wanted to read so was thankful to receive a copy from Grace at Constable & Robinson for review.
What started as a dream assignment to the paradise island of Bali, scouting the island for trip recommendations as part of her job as an adventure guide, soon turns into a nightmare for Jamie. During a night out with boyfriend Miguel she finds herself caught up in the midst of the nightclub bombings which changes her life forever.
A year later although physically healed she's still haunted by memories of that fateful night so decides to make a return trip to Bali to seek closure and to attend the memorial. But will she get the answers she's looking for and will she be able to find Gabe, the mysterious man who saved her and helped look after her following the blast.
It was hard to read about the devastation caused by the bombings, especially seeing as it was based on real-life events, and the impact it had to life for the villagers whose whole life revolved around tourism. But it was clear to see that the author had done her research as her descriptive writing brings the culture, tradition and beauty of Bali to the readers.
At just over 250 pages The Paradise Guest House was a poignant story dealing with grief and mourning, healing both physically and emotionally, and the tentative steps of rebuilding life for the survivors and the island itself.