BOOK CLUB: The Last Paradise

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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.

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Last Paradise

  1. The Last Paradise By Di Morrissey

    Grace is married to Lawrence, and is mum to 5 year old Daisy. They live in Sydney and have an uneventful life. Until one night while out at a neighbours for dinner, they hear an explosion and rush home to find their house in flames.
    Grace and Daisy move to the beach to stay with Tina, Grace’s mum, but Lawrence stays in the city to deal with the insurance. Which takes a long time. A very long time….
    With no financial support from her husband, Grace seeks out work from her old employer, and secures a job interview, promoting a new luxury hotel in Bali. With her mum taking care of Daisy, Grace flys to Bali to be interviewed for the job.
    With time away from her husband, and suspicions arising about the house fire and Lawrence’s business dealings, Grace sees for the first time what a controlling man her husband is, and realises that the marriage is over.
    She then begins to see how nasty a separation can become. But with their 5 year old daughter caught in the middle, will Grace continue to do as her husband wants and expects?
    Grace must decide what path her future will take.

    Thank you Beauty & Lace Book Club, and Pan Macmillan Books for the chance to read this book.

  2. This book centres around Grace Hagen and her family. She is married to Lawrence and they have a 5 year old daughter named Daisy .Grace initially enjoys her marriage because she feels loved and protected and financially sound,

    She thinks she has the perfect life, until one night a catastrophe occurs. Everything that Grace had counted on in her life changes and her world is turned upside down. Her marriage is a farce and she has to fight to hang onto everything she holds dear. The reality of her life is full of lies, deceit,manipulation and blackmail and she is hanging by a tenuous thread.

    Di Morrissey weaves a wonderful plot , her characters are believable and it sends out a powerful message that women can be strong and powerful in adverse circumstances. It shows that will love and support anything is possible.

    I haven’t read a Di Morrissey novel in ages and I don’t know why I haven’t, I. Loved this book and I definitely will be buying more.. Thank you to Pan MacMillan, Beauty and Lace and Di Morrissey for giving me the opportunity to read such a wonderful book

  3. Great story about a courageous woman’s journey to escape from controlling marriage to be free and confident once again in a beautiful paradise in Bali. I hope it gives other women who may be in similar situations the the encouragement to break free and gain confidence in finding themselves and happiness again like grace did here for herself and her beautiful little girl . Thanks Di Morrissey for an inspirational read set in paradise

  4. Thanks to Beauty and Lace bookclub and Pan MacMillan for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

    This one was an up and down read for me, there were parts I loved and parts I didn’t love so much. For the first 100 pages or so I was not very impressed, there was too much dialogue and I found that it was just not working for me. Once we moved on to Bali the story improved, the dialogue lessened and there seemed to be a lot more story.

    I really liked the thread that ran through about a woman who was a hero to the Indonesian back in the time of the Japanese invasion, I loved learning about her and her journey and I enjoyed how Grace learned and grew along with the unfolding of this storyline.

    I absolutely hated Lawrence from the very first page, he was such an unlikeable character and had nothing going for him at all. I’m glad that the event that literally exploded Grace’s life brought to light what a horrible person he was and allowed Grace the opportunity to escape and grow back into her own.

    This turned out to be a really enjoyable story which I found hard to put down for the final 1/3

  5. I had high hopes for Di Morrissey’s The Last Paradise and was thrilled to get the chance to review it.

    Grace and her family are likely familiar characters for a lot of readers. They seem a normal, regular, loving family until a house fire tears that apart.

    What Grace does next shows a resilience many of us could envy by taking an opportunity few of us would get.

    I didn’t love The Last Paradise as much as I had hoped. I found the characters largely unrelatable. I don’t know if it was me or the book but we just didn’t click the way I have with so many other Di Morrissey novels.

    In saying that, it was by no means unreadable. I just wasn’t as impressed as I normally am. I usually love a character or a location and get caught up in the story line I feel I’m transported to the place. I didn’t feel transported to Bali, I didn’t feel like I was really there with Grace. And I didn’t feel like I needed to be either.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace bookclub and Pan MacMillan for the chance to read and review this book.

  6. This is the first Di Morrissey book a I have read, and I have to say I really enjoyed it.
    It was a well researched book that covered all areas, the love story, the heart break, crime and heroism.
    Grace is married and thinks she has a perfect life, until the unthinkable happens and her life is turned upside down. When a job opportunity comes up in Bali her luck is about to change.
    During her time in Bali she meets some wonderful people, learns about what true heroism is and find it within herself to get her life back on track.
    A great read!

  7. Thank you for the opportunity to read The Last Paradise. I am a huge fan of Di Morrissey’s previous books and was not disappointed this time. The synopsis has been written about previously (see above comments), so I will not go into detail.
    The characters she presents are vivid and highly relatable. Her writing flows seamlessly through events and takes the reader effortlessly into this new world, where a very interesting story takes place. I did find the sub plot, involving K’tut a little distracting at first, though realised it was a crucial element and therefore necessary. Grace’s road to independence was enhanced by K’tut’s involvement. It offers readers the opportunity to consider their own situations and encourages assessment of their own financial and marital situations. Partnerships, should be just that; one’s dominance over the other is not acceptable, as Grace’s unfortunate situation showed.

    All power to the strong, independent females of the world!

  8. Thanks to the Beauty and Lace Book Club for sending me this wonderful book to read and review.

    This is the first Di Morrissey book I have read and it won’t be my last.

    The main character of the book is Grace who thought she had an ideal family life with her husband and young daughter.

    This was until her life changed for ever when she found out her husband was not the man she thought he was as his lies and deceit came out in the open

    Grace forges ahead and makes a new successful life for herself and finds a new love in an island paradise.

    A thoroughly enjoyable book.

  9. I was drawn in by the blurb for this book and liked how it started out. Grace has convinced herself that she lives the perfect life however it turns out that things are even further from the truth than she could have imagined. We follow Grace through a her journey of discovery which leads to her new life, and in the end a happily ever after.

    I found the book got a little slow after the first part and the chapters were extremely long the whole way through. There was some interesting background true story extracts, but it didn’t really add to the story that much. I didn’t connect with the characters or the story so I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I would have liked.

    This book was not the right fit for me but I enjoyed the opportunity to read it.

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