Title: A Sunrise Over Bali
Author: Sandy Barker
Publisher: 17th February 2022 by HarperCollins UK, One More Chapter
Pages: 384 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: women’s fiction, contemporary, romance
My Rating: 3 cups
Home is where the heart is...
When Jaelee Tan leaves her high-flying PR job in Miami for a sabbatical in Bali, the last thing she expects is for it to become permanent. But when her boss demands the trip be cut short, Jae does the only thing she can think of and quits on the spot.
With two months in Bali, a new group of friends and the gorgeous scenery and beaches, Jae is determined to make the most of her new-found freedom. And when she locks eyes with hunky Scot, Alistair, Jae wonders if she’ll lose her heart to more than just a Balinese sunrise.
Escape to Bali in this uplifting novel full of friendship, laughter and romance, perfect for fans of Mandy Baggot, Julie Caplin and Holly Martin.
‘So, is this some kind of Eat, Pray, Love thing?’
Does Bali appeal right about now? Do you need to feed your wanderlust and escape on a sabbatical? Sounds good. I am, however, torn as I just don’t know how to reconcile my polar response to, A Sunrise Over Bali. I have read some of Sandy’s other books such as, The Christmas Swap which I very much enjoyed but this one I am undecided about.
The defining attribute of this book is definitely the location - Bali. Whether you have ever been or just wish for some armchair travel, then Sandy has you covered. From stunning locale to the digital nomad lifestyle, you become immersed in expat living. Sandy delves much deeper than all the touristy spots and, as the title indicates, sunrises will never quite be the same again.
‘The sky is lighter now, the pink having dissolved into the distinct blue of the Balinese sky. My gaze shifts to the dense jungle, picking out palm trees, their fronds swaying slightly in the morning breeze.’
There are some good characters and plot stories that evolve with everything from friendships to romance. It was, however, the soul searching that drew me in and what better place to contemplate your future direction in life than Bali. Sadly, however, I just did not like Jaelee - brash and rude and her insta love did not ring true for me. I just could not connect with her. She does have a solid character arc but too little too late for my liking. Therein lies my dilemma with this book.
‘Now, apparently, I have a resting bitch face. I’ve been accused of being moody, angry, annoyed, and just plain bitchy, when all I’ve been doing is nothing, simply because my default - i.e. resting - expression is ‘bitch face’.
A Sunrise over Bali definitely provides the perfect getaway where you can literally feel the sand between your toes. The camaraderie and friendships are enticing you to throw in a towel and book and catch the next plane there. I only wish I had more empathy with Jaelee but she was just too selfish for me.
‘Maybe I’m finding a way to cope with my avalanche of fuckups. If I focus on the beauty around me, on the simple pleasures of a run, or a decent coffee, or a visit from Lu - if I stop obsessing about everything that’s wrong in my life, stop complaining - I can find my way out of the mire of my own making. I can find peace. This is why, Jae - this is why Bali and not the Bahamas.’
This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.
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