Reviews for The Journey's End
Jill W, UK
"I would recommend The Journey's End if you want an emotional ride. I have waited for many years for such a talented author. I was drawn in and captivated by her beautiful story. It is the ultimate good read. There is something about good writing that makes it as satisfying as a good meal. Dive into to this absorbing world of two characters whose lives run in parallel in Malaysia and London. A pure and absolute love for each other links their lives and accounts for their every move and thought. This is a tough book to review without gushing and giving away too much of the story but after initially Isabel and Lee meet in Malaysia and fall in love you cannot wait to turn the pages to see what happens next. Jane's depth of research is why the book is so well written and accompanying the love story is the revelation of the devastation and destruction caused by the tourism trade to the Natural habitat of Malaysia, and one man's quest to slow it down. It is an engrossing novel and will surely touch the lives of each and every reader. Jane's prose sings dances made me smile and broke my heart, each word is carefully chosen, so perfect in placement that it is as if a master craftsman has put it there. The shock horror ending moved me to tears! I know that you will find this book a masterly work of fiction. Enjoy."
Claire H, UK
"This book is quite unlike anything I've previously read. It's not typical of the type of book I'd usually enjoy, nor of my preferred genre. There is a distinct lack of fighting, murder, horror, crime and/or paranormal goings-on. Despite all of these factors, I simply loved this story and could not put it down. Jane Woolfenden's wonderfully descriptive story about Isabel and Lee really played with my emotions in a way I wasn't expecting. I can count the number of books that have brought me to tears on one hand - this one makes number six! Main characters Isabel and Lee are so wonderfully human that I defy any reader not to get caught up in their story. This book had me feeling so many different emotions, something I attribute to the author's brilliant storytelling. I'd like to thank Jane Woolfenden for sending me a copy of her book. If not for that, I might never have had the chance to read this fantastic emotional rollercoaster."
Christine M, UK
"I have read many books in my life, but none has touched me quite as completely as this one. Jane has the skill of writing just exactly that which will enable the reader to feel the emotion behind the words! The scenes both in London and Malaysia are so perfectly written that you are living Isabel's life beside her. I love the way the book starts at the ending; with the journey through the middle weaving through Isabel's and Lee's magical and tragic world. The naturally shy and unconfident natures of each, the loneliness and the cruel twists of fate keep them apart, whilst their undeclared love is pulling them together with an invisible silken thread that they cannot escape. Jane's skill in writing, attention to fine detail, and the story itself, make this a wonderful book. I couldn't put it down! Can't wait for the next one!"
Liz U, UK
"A beautiful book that I couldn't put down... The ending isn't a particular shock and is in keeping with the way the rest of the book reads. If you are looking for a gentle and romantic story then this could very well be it."
Tim S, UK
"As someone who as a young man wanted to become a rubber tapper in Malaya I was gripped by the atmosphere of this new novel by Jane Woolfenden, down to the detail of life in such a steamy clime. Even better, it captures the atmosphere of a Somerset Maugham with characters you believe in and like from the moment Lee Kim Cheng 'leaves behind his shattered business in Malaysia and travels to London in search of a qualification he believes will open new doors for him' - one chapter is headed 'Newington Green Road, N5' (the final chapter ends, 'Central London 18 June 2001 6.40pm) - to nearly 500 pages later. Lee's time in London reminds me too of my own time as an impecunious 20-year-old taking rooms in long anonymous terraced housing around Earl's Court, as the author puts it, 'There were three doorbells: 'Flat One', 'Flat Two', 'Flat Three'. It's often said London has a million stories to tell. Many of they are - like 'The Journey's End' - bittersweet and this is a really really good Summer read."
Tina J, UK
"This would be a great book to take on holiday for lazing around at the beach, as half the book is set in Malaysia as the main character goes on holiday. The writer did a great job of immersing me in this other culture. The book is very long and I felt like some of it could have been cut out and not affect the story whatsoever. Having said that though, if you enjoy a straight-forward romance, you're going to devour this and enjoy it's length."
Alison B, UK
"I spent 3 hungry, sleep deprived days reading The Journey's End. I tried, continually, to put it down as, not only was I starving & haggard, I wanted it to go on forever. I was absorbed within the first few pages & felt a bond of trust which I have previously only experienced when reading the work of, much longer, established authors. It is a delicate & intricately crafted tale of love thwarted by missed opportunities & insecurities. So vivid were the descriptions of beautiful Malaysia, I could sense the heat, taste the wonderful food, feel the mosquito bites, smell the precious Rainforest (without incurring the cost of an airline ticket). A Tremendous 1st book! Looking forward to Jane Woolfenden's next publication."
Cate G, UK
"The story of 'The Journey's End', in the sense of plot, is slight; indeed, it opens with the scene that also ends the novel. As for T. S. Eliot, in its beginning is its end. The focus, therefore, is how this circle is completed, and this is the story of the love between two people from very different countries and cultures. Jane Woolfenden is able, with great skill, to convey the atmosphere of both Malaysia and London as appropriate settings for the blossoming of a tender but lasting love. Read this book slowly, savour the language, feel the warmth of the tropical evenings and smell the scents of the flowers, and you will be rewarded."
Vadrine B, Seychelles
"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! "