A Sunrise Over Bali is lovely, heartwarming, cozy travel fiction giving the perfect escapism to wonderful setting of Bali with travel experience feel making it good summer read.
A Sunrise Over Bali by Sandy Barker
Publication Date : February 17th 2022
Publisher : One More Chapter
Read Date : May 8th 2022
Genre : Contemporary / Women’s Fiction
Pages : 344
Tea for this book : Black Tea
Disclaimer – I received e-ARC from the publisher ia NetGalley.
This post contains affiliate links.
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.
A Sunrise Over Bali is cozy and heartwarming travel romance that revolves around Jaelee at the crossroad of life who find love, friendship, and home at Bali. The story is about getting over heartbreak, betrayal, found family, friendship, love, and self-discovery.
Writing is soothing, cozy, vivid, and steady paced. The story is written in first person narrative from Jaelee’s perspective. Her voice is realistic and relatable. This has an “Eat, Pray, Love” vibe. The beginning of the story is most interesting.
Jaelee is successful, independent, has become everything her mother wanted but she is miserable and now she is running away to Bali taking sabbatical for two months because of her ex who married after their break up and she realising too late she loved him and her best friend Ali who disregarded her feelings by inviting her ex and his wife to her party. But Bali isn’t turning out how she imagined with its sticky weather, garbage in ponds, no seat belts in car, reckless drivers. To make it worse she is jobless on her first day in Bali as her boss insisted to cancel her sabbatical and then she meets Hemsworthy Scottish guy, Alistair.
It was interesting to see what she will experience in Bali, how she will get over problems she left behind in Miami, which path she will choose at the crossroad of life, where things will go with Alistair, will he be on the new path she chooses or will it end as a fling.
All characters are lovely, likable, and realistic. Jaelee is interesting to read. She came out a little arrogant, head strong and quick to judge. I liked reading why she was that way. It’s sure not easy to be the warmest person and still climb the ladders of career being half-Korean and her explanation about how much her mother influenced and shaped her character makes it understandable. I like that she doesn’t make it an excuse. What I liked most about her is how she accepts her flaws and corrects her mistakes quickly. Her worry about being jobless, not handling the problems in life, and uncertainty of new relationship with Alistair is genuine.
I enjoyed seeing how the influence of Bali is changing her little by little, making her ruminate about her life, the problems she left behind, and where she wants to go from this point. Things that plagued her mind no longer had power over her. She realized in trying to climb high on the ladder of career she lost passion for the job she loved and how being jobless gave her freedom of choice, and found passion once again. Being among other digital nomads made her get close to people, not to judge anyone harshly, and made her trust people more. She became a better person by the end of the book and I loved how she discovered a place she could call home.
I liked all the secondary characters especially Peta, Helena, and Alistair. They all had layers like Jaelee and it was interesting to know them more through their stories, their reason to be on this retreat and it was lovely to see how they became found family to Jaelee. Jaelee’s friendship with Ali and Cat is also lovely to read.
Best part of the book is setting, Bali and UROP-a co-living space for the digital nomad. I loved reading about places and activities, food, culture, lifestyle of Bali. They aren’t all out of brochure places and activities or all nice and touristy part but had the feel of real experience making the story perfect escapism. I loved the idea of digital nomads. It was amazing how people staying at UROP became a community, helping each other, doing activities and exploring places together in their free time when they are not working.
Romance is part of the story but it’s not sole focus of the story. I wouldn’t even call this a romace. The attraction between Jaelee and Alistair is instant. Things start fast between them, we in fact have first kiss in first five chapters but what label they should give it is slow process. For the most part Jaelee thinks this is a fling until they go on their first date. It doesn’t even have the usual drama we expect. All the drama came in last 20% of the book and by the time they came it doesn’t have the same effect.
Climax is interesting with Jaelee’s big decision and all the uncertainty that came with it. I wasn’t expecting the switch of setting until this point. It was interesting to read everything happened in this part. The end is perfect, lovely, and feel-good.
Why 3.5 Stars-
Most readers had issues with Jaelee but I guess I’m fine with her. My main complaint here is, it’s not that gripping. It’s extremely cozy that I often fell asleep while reading this. No drama for most of the book also didn’t help it. Story’s backdrop is amazing but the main story is just too simple and too drawn out. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Jaelee and Alistair.
Overall, A Sunrise Over Bali is lovely, cozy travel romance giving the perfect escapism and making it good summer read but I didn’t feel the romance and it was too slow for me.
I recommend this if you like,
Wonderful Setting of Bali with travel experience feel
Concept of digital nomad
Slow cozy pace
Less romance and drama
“Eat, Pray, Love” vibe
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