The Paradise Guest House - Ellen Sussman (Review and Giveaway!)

4 Stars!

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.

Ellen Sussman is the author of The Paradise Guest House, the New York Times bestselling novel, French Lessons and the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, On a Night Like This. She is also the editor of two anthologies, Dirty Words: A Literary Encyclopedia Of Sex and Bad Girls: 26 Writers Misbehave, which was a New York Times Editors Choice and a San Francisco Chronicle Best-Seller. She teaches writing through Stanford Continuing Studies and in private classes. 
Her website is www.ellensussman.com.

A very powerful book! This story will break your heart and warm it at the same time.
I do remember hearing about the nightclub bombings in Bali in 2002. But as usual, I read it and thought "Oh my gosh, that's terrible" and went on with life because it didn't happen here in the states and I don't know anyone in Bali. Here is the Wikipedia link that tells about it - HERE
I love reading books that are based on fact. I like to be reading and think "This really happened" even when the book is fiction.
The author did an excellent job with this book. It was very well written. It had excellent character development. The descriptions were very good. I don't know too much about Bali but I did get a feel for it while reading this story.
"In Bali, when a baby is born," he says, "the umbilical cord is buried in the ground in the courtyard of the family compound. As the child grows up, she might wander far from home. But in the end the umbilical cord draws her home." I thought this was beautiful.
Yes, this book is sad. It is about a very devastating thing that happened. And I will tell you ***It is descriptive!*** so if you are squeamish about those kinds of things then this might not be a good book for you. I don't think it is overdone. I mean there has to be some graphic descriptions or it wouldn't feel real. 
"I don't know Mom. I don't know anything." Her voice rising. "I've never been in a terrorist attack, okay? I've never seen someone I know die before. I don't know what happens next." She stopped talking with a sharp intake of breath. Tears running down her cheeks."
Thank you "Librarything Early reviewers" for sending me this book to read and review.

I am giving away my paperback copy of this book!
To enter to win -
*Please use the form below
*Please be from either the US or Canada
*Please comment on this post if you would like an extra entry.
*Please only enter your info once (I will add the bonus entry).
*Winner will be chosen on 4/19/13


  1. I remember the bombings and wondering - again - how people could do such a horrific thing. The book sounds fascinating!

  2. I love that it's so realistic and that it made you cry. I love books that draw real emotion from you and make you really think about word events through a fictional lens. It sounds excellent. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  3. Whoa. This sounds so good. I, like you, remember hearing of it but that was it. Great review.

    I'm adding the audio to my TBL.


  4. Thanks for the great give a way. sounds like a great book...

  5. I too remember hearing about these bombings, but like you they seemed so far away it was hard to relate to them.

  6. I remember those bombings too. I am so glad that she si telling the story.


  7. thanks for the chance to read this novel

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  8. Sounds like a very interesting and touching book. I would love to read it to find out if Jamie finds Gabe. Thanks for this chance.