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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Review: The Last Paradise

Title: The Last Paradise
Author: Di Morrissey
Publisher: 24th October 2019 by Macmillan Australia
Pages: 341 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: contemporary, women's fiction
My Rating: 4 crowns

Grace has the perfect life: a job she loves, a beautiful daughter and a rich, successful husband. But one night, when their world falls apart in a shocking disaster, Grace suddenly sees what she couldn't admit - her marriage and her husband are a fraud.
With the life she knew in tatters, she takes an assignment promoting the launch of a unique luxury hotel, hidden in a stunning, untouched oasis in the heart of tourist-crazed Bali.
Here, in this last paradise, Grace gathers the strength to take charge of her world. And, inspired by a woman's story from long ago, she discovers a path to a future she'd never dared to imagine . . .
My Thoughts

I was excited to finally sample one of  Australia’s most successful novelists, Di Morrissey. Her latest, The Last Paradise, is set mostly in Bali - and captures the great fascination Australia has with Bali (Australians account for more than a quarter of tourists in Bali). There is absolutely loads of information and it’s well worth the read. 

Yet there are more threads to this tale apart from a love of all things Bali. Di examines tourism over the years in Bali, investigates the breakdown of a marriage for the lead character and also recounts the history of K’tut Tantri from the 1930s - who left her life in the U.S to forge  new one in the tropical paradise of Bali.

‘... as she stepped back from the embrace and saw the emotionless look on her husband’s face she wondered, had she traded genuine unconditional love for security? Was it too late to do something about it?’

Out of these three threads, I enjoyed learning about all about Bali - past and present - the most. At times there were a few too many information dumps for my liking, however, it was interesting to learn of the steps in developing a luxury hotel in Kuta. The main character, Grace and her journey of independence from her controlling husband, swung from naivety to empowering with a sprinkle of repetitiveness. Still, it was worthwhile to take the journey with her as she stood up to the challenge and regained her independence. Interspersed throughout were excerpts of the life of K’Tut and her experiences especially during Japanese occupation during the War. This is tied in with Grace’s story in terms of being strong in difficult circumstances. 

‘I’m not sure what it is about it that’s got me so intrigued–K’tut herself, or the times, or how different old Bali was from the one we know today.’

The Last Paradise is a dedicated tribute to Bali - past, present and future. If you are at all interested in this exotic location, then this is a definite must read. With a spotlight on tourism woven around the tale of one woman’s journey to regain and remould her life’s destiny. 

‘The whole place is like a movie set, a dream job in a location you can’t imagine. I feel as if I’m in the last paradise on the planet.’

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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