Saturday, 15 February 2020

Book Review: The Last Paradise by Di Morrissey

The Last Paradise
Di Morrissey

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia 
Publication date: 24th October 2019
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 416
RRP: $34.99AUD
Format read: Hardback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher

 n the ashes of her marriage, she finds the truth about his past and the courage to start again in . . . The Last Paradise.

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 . . .

The Last Paradise is the latest novel by prolific best-selling author Di Morrissey. With the majority of the story set in Bali, Morrissey brings to the fore her powerful ability to evoke a sense of time and place.

Grace has lost everything, her house, her car, her every possession in a devastating house fire. She takes her young daughter to live with her mother whilst her husband moves closer to his place of work. Away from her husband’s ever controlling presence Grace starts to see that a lot of things about his life don’t add up.

Through Grace we see how a lot of women can become controlled and repressed, especially when they leave their jobs to care for a new baby. Grace had slowly surrendered all decisions over to her husband. Some because she simply didn’t have the time and others to avoid another argument.

Now in desperate need of money Grace secures an advertising job which requires her to spend time in Bali. We watch as Grace grows in confidence as she embraces her job and knows this is something she is good at. As she battles her husband for custody of their daughter Grace grows strong and resilient.

Morrissey’s descriptions of Bali are vivid, with mentions of Bali in the 70’s before it become a cheap haven filled with noisy holiday makers. The island becomes as much a part of the story as the characters. Morrissey’s aim is to show her readers the other side of Bali, without the buckets of alcohol but with exotic food and pristine beaches.

Some history of Bali is introduced with excerpts from Revolt in Paradise by K’tut Tantri. I found myself interested in K’tut’s story and more so after the introduction of Tim Lindsey who wrote The Romance of K’tut Tantri and Indonesia, after her death.

I enjoy a good mystery so I would have liked the mystery surrounding Grace’s husband. Lawrence, to have been a bit more fleshed out and it was wrapped up much too quickly.

Morrissey has given her readers a world that embraces the true Bali, showcasing a connectedness to the land, and where love and hope ultimately triumph.


My rating  3/5
Explaining my 3 star rating: As much as I loved Di Morrissey’s writing and I think The Last Paradise will be a huge success, the setting of Bali just didn’t, doesn’t, will never interest me and the setting is a large part of this story.

Photo credit: Coastbeat - Aaron Cuneo

Di Morrissey is one of the most successful and prolific authors Australia has ever produced. She trained as a journalist, working in newspapers, magazines, television, film, theatre and advertising around the world. 

Her fascination with different countries, their landscape, their cultural, political and environmental issues, has been the catalyst for her novels which are all inspired by a particular landscape. 

Di lives with her partner, Boris Janjic, in the Manning Valley, NSW. 
In 2017, in recognition of her achievements, Di was inducted into the Australian Book Industry Awards Hall of Fame with the Lloyd O'Neil Award. In 2019, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours. 

Author website   ||  Facebook  ||  Instagram  ||  Twitter




  1. I’ve not had much luck with Di Morrisey’s books to be honest, despite her popularity.

    1. I’m keen to try another of her because. I think this was purely a setting thing.

  2. Well... I guess if the setting is that much of the story and you're not into it, that makes sense that the book didn't speak to you.