BOOK CLUB: The Last Paradise

ISBN: 9781760781729
Author: Di Morrissey
Copy courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia

Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and review The Last Paradise by Di Morrissey.

Before I go any further, I have two things to say:
1. How have I got to this point in my life without having previously read a book by Di Morrisey? And;
2. You know a book is good when you get it in the mail in the morning, sit down to read and don’t stop until you have finished it 400 pages later!

I absolutely loved this book, the gorgeous wraparound dust jacket so evocative of Asian Island paradises, the stunning Asian inspired artwork on the inside of the front and back covers and the tale itself, fictional and yet inspired by the larger than life K’Tut Tantri (aka Muriel Pearson, Surabaya Sue, Vannen Walker, Manx, Nyonya Meng).

Grace is married to Lawrence, a successful businessman, they live in a beautiful home on the rural fringes of Sydney and have an adorable 5 year old daughter, Daisy. Lawrence constantly showers Grace and Daisy with expensive gifts, but something is missing from the marriage leaving Grace wondering if she has traded unconditional love for security.

Then, one evening, with Daisy spending the night at Grace’s mother Tina’s home near the beach Grace’s whole life changes. She and Lawrence have gone to dinner at a friend’s house a couple of blocks away, and just as they are about to leave to return home a huge explosion rents the air. Horrified, Grace realises that it is their home that has gone up in flames.

In shock after losing everything they own Grace retreats to her mum Tina’s house with Daisy while the insurance matters are dealt with. Lawrence however, insists that it is too far for him to commute from there to the city for work, and so he moves into a hotel, coming down to spend time with Grace and Daisy on weekends.

As time drags on, and the insurance seems no closer to being paid out, and no money is forthcoming from Lawrence to help meet her or Daisy’s expenses, Grace becomes concerned. Then when she discovers that Lawrence has put the flat in Paddington, left to Grace in her nan’s will, on the market she starts to realise that something is quite seriously not okay.

As her world crumbles around her, and she questions everything she thought she knew about her husband and marriage she is offered a lifeline. A previous client has recommended the company she works for, and her in particular, for an advertising/promotional shoot for a new hotel/resort in Bali.

Logistically it would be hard, she would need to spend extensive time in Bali, which meant Daisy would have to come with her, and attend school there, but if she got the job the money would be just what she needs as she continues to receive no support from Lawrence.

Lawrence, he hadn’t reacted well to her telling him their marriage was over, and she was sure he would do everything in his power to make it impossible for her to fulfil her dreams, but she had to try.

This is a fabulous story of a woman coming to terms with her controlling, narcissistic, emotionally abusive husband and learning to take control of her life and self-belief again. Set in Bali, with all the current anti-terrorism checks, and yet somehow evoking a Bali of an earlier time before it became a tourist mecca, we are drawn into the dichotomy between beauty, serenity and manipulative hate as Grace works to rebuild her life and find out who the man she married really is. And through it all, the amazing story of K’Tut Tantri weaves its magic.

A truly beautiful book. Highly recommended. I give it five stars.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Last Paradise. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.

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