All Isabel wanted was a momentary reprieve from the loneliness and desperation that had plagued her life up till now. Thankfully, finding herself on a reclusive island in Malaysia for a two-week vacation after a business week in KL turned out to be exactly what she needed. Little did she know that there, she would find the one person destined to turn her world upside down and have her question what it is that she has always wanted from life. All Lee wanted was to protect the little piece of heaven (his nature friendly hotel, Buah Lodge) that was his to boast, from the destructive multi-million dollar companies that sought to level the forest and his home along with it. Little did he know that he had room in his heart for more than just his dream of conservation, and that a foreign woman would capture his heart and keep it for him until the time was right for them to accept their affections. An unplanned voyage to an elusive piece of paradise leads to the birth of a love that transcends oceans and can withstand even the treacherous tests of time.
In Jane Woolfenden’s first novel, she embarks us on a journey of such emotion, one can barely keep track; hope, anticipation, frustration, hate, annoyance, love and the eye-widening, shock-inducing emotion that usually accompanies wanting to throw a book against a wall in an absolutely great way.
Not only is this a beautiful piece of fiction, but Jane takes the opportunity to teach her readers a valuable lesson concerning the harm that tourism can do if not properly controlled in an eco-friendly way that is beneficial for the local people. Even if the references are made to Malaysia, one can very easily relate them to the truths occurring here in Seychelles and to the concerns that we all have regarding the environment and tourism. As she so plainly explains, ‘Tourism destroys tourism’, meaning that if we try to improve and develop tourism to an extent where it destroys the natural and endemic beauty of an area, there will be nothing left that tourists will want to come to.
Amidst these lessons, Jane’s descriptive writing gives us beautiful images of that island paradise that is so similar to ours in some aspects. The story flips from the characters pasts to their presents through the chapters and this only helps add to the suspense and anticipation of wanting to get to the next chapter that completes the last one. From Isabel’s time in England to her vacation ten years ago in Malaysia and from Lee’s time in Malaysia to his journey in London years later, the chapters unfold as such with each one revealing more and more of the puzzle until of course, the characters will reach their Journey’s End.
The image on the cover is one taken by the author herself but in my opinion it’s always best not to judge a book by its cover. What is inside those pages is worth the hours you will spend reading them and is worth the few tears that might even be shed.
Thanks Jane, I didn’t plan on sleeping at all this past week anyways!