the traveller returns

Fiction - Intrigue
343 Pages
Reviewed on 12/20/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Justine R Kelly is a writer.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Zipolite is a work of suspenseful and intriguing fiction penned by author Justine R. Kelly. The title relates to a beach in Mexico, around which much of this life-spanning epic story revolves. In her younger years, Melissa is a very unhappy woman in Sydney, who ditches her whole life and runs away to Mexico. Determined to make it work in her new world, she meets Solomon, a beach surfer who has mysterious connections to the cartel world, and Connie, a fellow Australian pregnant with Solomon’s child. Years later, Melissa returns again to Zipolite to see how life has panned out, and many mysteries of the past are at last revealed.

Author Justine R Kelly has created a concise and emotive drama that gets right to the point and can be read as a short holiday read. It still delivers a great amount of drama for its fast pacing, with the three central characters taking sharp focus as well-drawn individuals with their own motivations, heartaches, and goals. I liked the Melissa of the past and of the future, where fourteen years of wisdom have redeveloped her feelings about her youth on the beach, and in the complex world of Mexico City and its surrounds. The accuracy of the social dynamics there was excellent and really fascinating to read about, adding yet more realism to this drama to make it even more effective. Overall, Zipolite is a highly recommended read for fans seeking emotive drama, introspective philosophies on life and plenty of secrets to be revealed.

Deborah Lloyd

Antonio was Melissa’s ticket out of Sydney, Australia. He told her he was a successful travel photographer, and she moved with him to Mexico City. She met his friends: Ben, a Danish man, and Jimena, his Mexican girlfriend. When Antonio went to Germany, reportedly for work, and did not return, Melissa decided to go to Zipolite, a beach village on the Mexican coast. Melissa was a writer, and she thought this setting might support her creative efforts. As she became entangled in the lives of Solomon, Connie, Vincente, and other locals and travelers, her life changed in unexpected ways. Eventually, she left Zipolite and traveled to other parts of the world. Her memories of Zipolite always held a special place in her heart. Years later, through several synchronicities, she reconnected with Solomon and Connie. She learned the truth of their lives and had a momentous decision to make. In Zipolite, written by Justine R. Kelly, an intriguing adventure spanning many years unfolds.

Zipolite is fascinating in several different ways – the impact of Melissa’s self-centered mother on her life; cultures in Australia, Mexico, India and other countries in the world; poverty-stricken areas, where hope survives; the struggles of a writer. The author has intertwined a number of poignant themes throughout this work. Her portrayal of Melissa, who is trying to develop a meaningful life but is often used by others, is realistic. At times, it seems encouraging and at others, disheartening. Yet, she perseveres, illustrating the strength of the human spirit. Author Justine R. Kelly has written a perceptive, thought-provoking novel in Zipolite. A compelling, well-written book.

Edith Wairimu

Zipolite by Justine R Kelly is a fascinating novel that follows Melissa from Sydney to Mexico and, later, continues to trace her life as she seeks meaning and community. Melissa bears scars from her childhood after being raised by a selfish, manipulative mother. She leaves Sydney for Mexico, hoping to leave her past behind and heal from all she has been through. In Mexico, she finds what she has been looking for - family. The group comprises Irene, of Irish descent, Connie, a nurse from Southern Australia, Solomon, a Mexican who is in love with Connie, among others such as Vincente, Wheel and Dan, an American college student. Melissa is drawn to Connie and Solomon’s intriguing love story and even after years have passed, she still feels attached to her earlier memories of Zipolite, Mexico.

Justine R Kelly’s Zipolite remains focused by closely following the turns in the main character’s life. Melissa finds solace and belonging miles away from home and though she later goes back to Australia, she returns to Zipolite. The novel is made even more interesting by the revelations that come at the end. The cause of Solomon’s disappearance, which happens at the beginning, is explained as well as the later state of Solomon and Connie’s relationship. Rumors of cartel involvement and participation in the Zapatista movement loom in the background against the peace and beauty of Zipolite. Driven by interesting supporting characters, a likable, relatable main character, a heart-warming yet realistic story, Zipolite by Justine R Kelly is an absorbing read.