Cover Image: The Sun Sets in Singapore

The Sun Sets in Singapore

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Member Reviews

Kehinde Fadipe presents a busy novel with some dynamic characters. At times I did need to go back and reread as it did get a little confusing. However, their 3 lives were intertwined and very well developed. I found it a beautiful realization of family relationships, I can see this being a great book for a book club as there would be a lot to discuss. The realistic view of Singapore was poeticly created and was enjoyable to read. Dynamic female relationships make this book a must-read.

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This book was just “meh” for me. I felt like I was reading it because I had to finish it instead of reading it because I wanted to finish it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was.

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Book Review: The Sun Sets in Singapore💐

Author: @kehinde_demilola_fadipe
Publisher: @grandcentralpub
Release date: out now (October 31, 2023)

⁉️: Do you prefer city, small town, or in the suburbs or rural areas?

I lived in Singapore from the early 1990s to 2001, and I continue to consider Singapore my second home. We tend to visit every two years. During my graduate days and before I started seeing Mike, my dream had been to move back there. However, the Singapore I knew of the 1990s has transformed radically since early 2000s. The prices of hawker center food, though affordable, have risen drastically, malls have changed, and stores that used to carry cut fruit have also reduced greatly. At least, that was my observation last year when we were there for a week in 2022.

So, when I learned that there was a book set in Singapore, I knew I had to read it. In the novel, we meet three women: Dara, a workaholic lawyer from UK, Amaka, a banker from Nigeria, and Lilian, a former pianist who is described as the “trailing spouse” from the US.

This richly crafted and immersive novel paints a complex picture of the old and new in the cosmopolitan Singapore, especially through the ideas of the diverse populations who make up the country. Fadipe, in particular, focuses on the Nigerian community that is based in the country. Reading the novel felt like a journey back to my hometown, mentioning of names of familiar locations, the intensity and pressure that people who work face that often does not encourage work/life balance and the nuances in the accents captured by the author made the novel come alive in my imagination. It is indeed true that books can transport you around the world without a flight ticket needed.

I wanted to thank @grandcentralpub for the finished copy.

#KahineFadipe #TheSunSetsinSingapore #GrandCentralPub #bookstagram #shnidhi

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It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book that was as good and messy as this one. Amaka, Dara and Lillian, the main characters of the book, were a trip! All three are incredibly interesting women, each very different from one another. But once Lani, a Nigerian lawyer recruited to push Dara to the side at her law firm, he walks into a storm he unconsciously creates.

Each one of these women have a lot going for them, but their pasts have developed flaws in them that eventually brings everything to a head. By the time I was done with the book, I felt like I had been put through an emotional roller coaster.

I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the characters at first, but they all were written very well. I did roll my eyes about Lillian a couple of times, but when I understood why she reacted the way she did, I felt for her so much.

I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.

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Dara is a highly successful lawyer in line for a partnership and the only Black woman working at her Singapore law firm. She's best friends with Amaka - a banker from Nigeria who has a secret shopping addiction and a lot of family drama/baggage. The friends then meet Lillian, a Black American woman, nursing secret trauma, who is in Singapore with her husband. When Lani, a super hot British Nigerian lawyer joins Dara's law firm, he throws the lives of the three women into unexpected chaos.

I really, really wanted to love this (the cover alone!), but it ended up being kind of slow yet simultaneously very soap-opera-y in a way I didn't super enjoy. It felt very Sex in the City/90s "chick lit" (I absolutely hate that term, but it gets the point across, I guess). I'd definitely read another book by Fadipe in the future because her perspective as a Black woman and ex-pat living in Singapore is fascinating. I do think this would make a great book club pick because there's lots to discuss (and I love that the three women are in a book club together)!

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Boring and didn’t keep my attention. Had to push to finish. Surprised this was a Jenna book club pick. There was some drama along the way but took way too long to get there.

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The Sun Sets in Singapore is a drama-filled, entertaining romp through sun-drenched Singapore, with a narrative that tries to do a lot -- sometimes too much. Focusing on the lives of three expats -- Dara, Amaka, and Lillian -- Kehinde Fadipe explores topics ranging from female friendships, to romantic relationships, to the intricacies of corporate law.

All three women are of Nigerian descent, but with very different backgrounds and life experiences. Dara is an ambitious lawyer/workaholic who is trying desperately to make partner in her white male-dominated firm; Amaka struggles with a shopping addiction and complicated relationships with both her family and her romantic partners; and Lillian is a former pianist who is dealing with the effects of several miscarriages on her emotional health and her marriage. When a British/Nigerian lawyer named Lani arrives in Singapore, he affects the lives of all three women in surprising ways, serving as a catalyst for their individual journeys of self-discovery and personal growth.

The Sun Sets in Singapore is richly atmospheric and immersive, bringing the luxurious Singaporean setting completely to life. It completely transported me to a location and culture I don't know a lot about, and I love it when a book takes me somewhere new. At the same time, Fadipe peels back the paradise-like facade as she explores her characters' personal and professional struggles.

For some reason, though, I couldn't totally connect with the story and the characters. Everything was a bit too drenched in drama for me, veering a bit too far into soap opera territory, rather than thoughtfully examining authentic human relationships. Some of the more serious topics like racism and microaggressions, infertility, infidelity, grief, and sexism are dealt with somewhat shallowly, with no room to breathe in a narrative that is too focused on moments of melodrama. It's like Fadipe couldn't decide if she was writing chick-lit or a literary character study, and that identity crisis is felt in the book.

That said, though, The Sun Sets in Singapore is a worthwhile read for its important perspective on race and culture, while also serving as entertaining escapist fiction.

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This book was very character-driven, bouncing around to the three POVs of its leading women. I enjoyed the lush backdrop of Singapore and the full cast of characters. The author did a good job at carving out highly distinctive personas for Dara, Amaka, and Lillian, and I enjoyed the character development throughout the novel (especially at the end). I felt like I learned more about the Nigerian diaspora through each of their backstories.

Ultimately, while intermittently entertaining, this book fell a bit flat for me. I didn’t connect with Amaka or Lillian, and some of the plot points felt melodramatic.

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I struggled with this book. I didn’t find any of the main characters particularly likable, which is key for me as a reader. To me, Amaka leaned towards all the wrong decisions, Lillian was satisfied with miscommunication, and Dara complained without taking steps to make change. And the story, while well-told, is complex which is both good and bad. That being said, I can certainly appreciate the story-telling and the writing.
To start, each main character is fully fleshed out - I didn’t feel like any details were missing or more time dedicated to one of the three versus the others. They are all separate women with separate lives, which is where a lot of the complexity comes in. I did love how they all tie together despite their different circumstances, and we get a cohesive narrative even with three separate characters to focus on. I also like the puzzle piece of Lani fitting in to all their stories without playing the same role for each of them. Like book club, Lani means something different for each of the women and that is a compelling thread throughout the book.
Though I couldn’t connect with the story and it was hard for me to move past a lot of choices the main characters made, I do think the author gives this story a great resolution, tying everything up at the end in just the right way. With the three women, there is a lot to muddle through, but they each have their moment of realization and a chance at redemption. As a very character-oriented reader, that is what ultimately tipped the book over the line into “would recommend.”

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The Sun Sets in Singapore is Kehinde Fadipe's debut novel following the lives of three Nigerian expat women living in Singapore. Dara is a lawyer on the brink of partnership at her law firm. Amaka is a banker in the middle of an intense family dispute and Lillian is a professional pianist seemingly at the end of her marriage. The arrival of Lani, a handsome British/Nigerian banker, changes the trajectory of their friendship in devastating ways.

The author uses a multi-perspective approach, allowing readers to experience the story through the perspectives of each woman. While the characters are undeniably intriguing, some may find the narrative slightly fragmented. However, the storytelling exudes a vibrancy that held my interest until the very end. If you're a fan of the dramatic twists and turns reminiscent of soap operas, consider adding this one to your TBR pile.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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A fun read that keeps the drama flowing to capture your attention. Following the lives of expat women in Singapore who are all facing their own struggles while trying to keep the mask of perfection on, there's no shortage of edge of your seat twists and turns.

This is very much a character-driven story versus plot so expect some highs and lows with these women. There's a lot to unpack with each in terms on background and personal struggles but in some moments lack depth. The character of Lillian for example had some off the wall obsessions and frankly, was the weirdest portion of the book and I struggled to redeem the connection with her.

If you're looking for a fast-paced, reality tv show feeling, drama filled poolside read? I'd recommend grabbing this to fill your time.

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Thank you to Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for my eARC. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

This was an interesting and captivating read. I wasn't sure what to expect going in, but this one didn't disappoint.

There were quite a few characters and settings that at first made it confusing to keep track of. I enjoy stories that are told in multiple POVs, which this one did, so that worked for me.

I liked the descriptions and the themes that are woven throughout, as well as the exploration of female friendship dynamics and what happens to these friendships when outside factors are introduced.

3.5/5

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I loved this fast-paced novel based in glamorous Singapore. The author deftly explores the intersection of the African diaspora with expat life.

The main characters wrestle with marital challenges, workplace politics, and the gossip in a small expat community with a 2 degrees of separation dynamic.

Highly recommend!

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Captivating tale of family drama that wraps around the readers heart. Beautifully told with shared culture, family, and truth as the story unfolds.

Thank you Grand Central Publishing and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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This was a fun, light read. I was expecting something a bit "deeper" but this was still a good story.

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Fun, fine book. Great sense if place but I found the whole set up to be rather frustrating. Three women's lives completely undone by the appearance of a man, and the women acted so crazily that I found myself most sympathetic to the man. Still had fun reading it though!

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The elegant city of Singapore is host to a variety of people looking for a variety of things. Dara is a workaholic lawyer who has been working her way towards partner for the last six years. Amaka is a sharp-tongued banker with expensive tastes and a shopping addiction. Lillian is a former pianist turned trailing spouse trying to work her way through feelings of guilt and find herself again. The lives of these three women become inextricably intertwined when a beautiful new stranger enters their lives and reveals the cracks in each of their well-crafted façades.

Singapore is a city that lives in my heart and being able to visit it a bit with this story was a joy, especially with the different perspectives provided by the three main characters. Each of the main characters is an ex-pat and comes from a different background, allowing the reader to explore the intricacies of the city without feeling like an outsider. It glamorizes Singapore in a way that made me want to pack up my life and hop on a plane across the world. (Though, to be fair, that's definitely not a new urge when it comes to Singapore—my comfort movie is Crazy Rich Asians after all.)

Each character is incredibly nuanced with their own problems that start to completely take over their lives in a way that affects not only them, but everyone around them. At first glance, these women seem to be on separate paths, but it becomes clear pretty quickly how these women are involved in each other's lives and, to a lesser extent, the role they will play for each other. Each woman has roots that can be traced back to Nigeria and so this story is a wonderful exploration of the different experiences that people who come from the same region can have while also reflecting on how your past and the problems you’re trying to outrun will always catch up with you.

In addition to wonderful character work, Fadipe also explores the complexities of female friendships, from the loving support needed in times of crises to the secrets kept to protect feelings. The interactions between all the women in the story were portrayed very realistically, aided by the multiple POVs that allowed us to see how some characters acted differently to someone’s face versus behind their back. Despite some of the hostility and tensions, there also ended up being a beautiful found family element that really brought everything home.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher for free and have voluntarily written this review.

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The blub for this book sounded interesting and I decided to pick it up. I struggled in the beginning because there are a lot of characters and the story bounces around so it was difficult to keep track of who was who. The story dragged on in the middle and I probably should’ve DNF’d it. However, I will say the ending did get better. Each of the characters has their own story and journey, but overall the story was a bit underwhelming.

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I’ve liked books like this in the past, but the execution of this one didn’t work for me.
The book opens with Dara’s perspective. She’s the lawyer. We’re thrust into a conversation where lawyers are talking at a corporate event about cases we don’t know about and office politics. I felt like I was dropped into the scene without knowing much about the characters or what’s going on and therefore having a hard time caring to follow.
I’ve DNF’d another book for the same reason (Can’t remember which one??) - dropped into a conversation with multiple characters who you know nothing about, don’t care about, can’t keep straight (a pet peeve of mine).
Not a great way to draw the reader into the story.
To give this a fair chance, I did read the first chapter of each of the 3 women’s perspectives and there was no hook in any of them to draw me into the story. Nothing that gave me a reason to want to keep reading.

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One of my favorite books of the year! If you've ever experienced expat culture - you need to read this! I'd love to read more by this author.

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