The brightly colored, natural beauty of tropical islands can stand in sharp contrast to the social and political issues that may lurk beneath “paradise.” Sometimes paradise is only paradise for those visiting it.

Today’s featured book is presented to mirror that existence – its cheerful, breezy cover and the vacation destination in which it is set contradict the far darker reality the island residents live in…

 

Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and choose to buy something, it won’t cost you anything, but I’ll get an itsy bitsy commission as a thank you for sharing something cool with you.

 

here comes the sun book Nicole Dennis-Benn beach reads Caribbean author Jamaican writer

*credit: Liveright / Nicole Dennis-Benn

 

The book: Here Comes the Sun

Written by: Nicole Dennis-Benn

Originally published: 2016

 

Set in a fictitious small town in Jamaica, Here Comes the Sun centers on the lives of two sisters, Thandi and Margot.

 

“At an opulent resort in Montego Bay, Margot hustles to send her younger sister, Thandi, to school. Taught as a girl to trade her sexuality for survival, Margot is ruthlessly determined to shield Thandi from the same fate. When plans for a new hotel threaten their village, Margot sees not only an opportunity for her own financial independence but also perhaps a chance to admit a shocking secret: her forbidden love for another woman. As they face the impending destruction of their community, each woman – fighting to balance the burdens she shoulders with the freedom she craves – must confront long-hidden scars.” – via Amazon

 

What I love most about this book is how nuanced the characters are. They are deeply human and face real struggles, often making decisions they’ll come to regret. The glimpses we are given into their individual histories are also incredibly well done, giving depth and reason to who these characters have become in present day. Many scenes in this book will linger on your mind. In this way, the book would make an excellent book club choice as there is much you’ll likely want to discuss further.

I opted to listen to this as an audiobook and was so glad I did. The narrator does an excellent job at bringing these characters to life. (I did read in some of the reviews that Jamaicans had some issues with her pronunciation at points, so do keep that in mind if that’s something that will bother you.)

 

book here comes the sun nicole dennis-benn island writer Jamaican women Caribbean life beach reads

*credit: NPR.org

 

 

Readers who will love this book:

 

Those who’ve lived on an island and watched it change. If you’ve found yourself singing, “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot…” you will relate on some level to the crush of development felt by the villagers of River Bank.

Those who love strong, female driven stories. The women this book centers around are powerful, intriguing, and undeniably authentic.

Those who have a connection to Jamaica, or the Caribbean in general. Between the descriptions of the fictional village, the cultural references, the food, and the people, you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into a familiar world.

 

–   –   –

 

Have you read this novel too? Who was your favorite character and/or storyline and why?

If you’ve read it, be sure to leave a comment below or on our Facebook page – we can chat about it and it’ll be like our own island-style book club!

 

In case you missed the other posts in this series, check out An Embarrassment of Mangoes and Don’t Stop the Carnival.

 

If you’re a fellow island reader and would like to connect on all things books, you can find me on Goodreads. I even have a shelf of island related books, which I plan to cover in future posts like this one.

Written By:

Chrissann Nickel

Current Rock of Residence:

Virgin Gorda, BVI

Island Girl Since:

2006

Originally Hails From:

California

Chrissann’s home rock in the British Virgin Islands feels bigger to her than it actually is. Though after spending five years on a teensy one acre island, the current 13-mile long rock she’s residing on now IS ginormous, at least by comparison. As with everything in the tropics, it’s all about perspective.

Once upon a time she used to care about things like matching her purse to her pumps but these days, any activities that require a bra and shoes go under careful, is-this-even-worth-it consideration. If island life has taught her anything at all, it’s that few things are more rewarding than time spent in the pool with a cocktail in hand.

As the Editor in Chief of this site, she spends her days working from home with her blue-eyed sidekick, Island Dog Diego, writing, editing, and cultivating content in the hopes of bringing some laughter and lightness to her fellow island souls. She recently published her first children’s book, When You’re a Baby Who Lives on a Rock, and is pretty pumped to share it with all of the island mamas out there. Her days off are typically spent boating, hiking, and meeting up with the neighborhood’s imperious roadside goats, who she shamelessly bribes into friendship. While normalcy was never listed as one of her special skills, Caribbean life may indeed be responsible for new levels of madness. She attributes at least a smidge of her insanity to the amount of time she spends talking to drunk people.

If you’re somehow still reading this and feel inclined to find out more about this “Chrissann” of which we speak, you can also take a gander at her eponymous website or follow her daily escapades on Instagram @womanonarock.

Want to read more posts by this writer? Click here.

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