Blue Bay Palace by Nathacha Appanah

Blue Bay Palace is my book from Mauritius for the Read The World challenge.

Looking over some of my old posts about books, I’ve noticed a tendency to bend over backwards to find nice things to say in an attempt to seem fair-minded, to the point that I re-read the reviews and think they are a bit misleading. So I decided to be a bit harsher when necessary. This is one of those times.

I had problems with the prose style from the first page; it’s trying too hard for a certain kind of literary gravitas that it can’t manage, and as a result it is badly overwritten. In fact the combination of florid prose and a rather conventionally told love story reminded me above all of Mills & Boon: especially since it features a poor girl with a rich lover in an exotic location (although the ‘exotic’ part is fair enough). The main difference is that Mills & Boon novels have happy endings, and this book doesn’t; in fact, once the love story starts going wrong, it gets a bit more interesting… but then it blows it with a melodramatic and unsatisfying ending.

On the positive side, it was very short.