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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  966 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
Take four friends...

Rianne: beautiful, wealthy and thoroughly spoilt, she has the world at her feet but is about to risk everything.

Gabrielle: intelligent, loyal and always worrying about everyone else, now it's time for her to start looking after No.1.

Nathalie: petite, pretty and with a shrewd eye for business, she uses her work to help her forget the one man she can't ha
Paperback, 654 pages
Published October 7th 2004 by Orion (first published 2003)
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Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I love this book, I could read it again and again (and I have!)

My mind wanders back to this book a lot. I think about it more than I thought I would. It really sucked me in to the world of the characters - and made me want to design underwear.
Scribble Orca
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of chick-lit
This book is a sort-of thinking person's Judith Krantz (in the sense that there is quite some well-researched history included in the plot, and my only experience of Krantz to date has been Lily). It has a semi-autobiograhpical feel to it (check out the author's website) and a remarkable sense of what it's like to live in both London, Johannesburg, Singapore, New York (it certainly described much of my impressions in those places). It is, I would argue, firmly within the chick-lit genre, and yes ...more
Melissa Kayanda
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
First of all, someone needs to make a film adaptation of this book, NOW.

I concede. I thought this book would be some shallow, light, summer read but clearly, I thought wrong.
I loved the characters. I loved watching them develop from girls to women, I loved watching them eventually come to terms with themselves.

The climatic parts gave me the thrills, THE THRILLS!
I am such a girl for loving this book the way I did but you know what? I am a girl. So fuck it.
Danka Jai
May 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not just your ordinary, superficial life story of a female character. Following the lifespan of many characters, Sundowners leans on an edgy and emotional side involving twisted subplots of politics, drug abuse, relationship woes and imperialism.
The emotional draw into the novel is strong, with a different view brought by each character. There is no lack of drama, no lack of action, and the subtle, more serious subplot involving racism and imperialism in South Africa is not overbearing on the no
The Cats Mother
I read Bitter Chocolate several years ago, and really enjoyed it, so when I needed something that wasn't a crime thriller for a change, picked this off the shelf. It's a fairly chunky old-fashioned bonkbuster rather like Lace but with a bit less sex and a bit more history and politics. It was OK but I was still disappointed. The story is about 4 girls who meet in a posh english boarding school and despite having nothing in common, remain close friends. (I guess I have nothing in common with my s ...more
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dopo aver letto questo libro ho continuato per giorni a chiedermi cosa stessero facendo i personaggi in quel momento, pentendomi amaramente di essere una vorace lettrice ed aver già finito quel fantastico romanzo. E' coinvolgente a tal punto da immedesimarsi nei protagonisti e da capire le loro azioni ma anche da saperle criticare in modo onesto. la suddivisione nelle parti delle varie ragazze, quando le loro vite prenderanno strade diverse, è perfetta perchè ad ogni interruzione c'è un minimo i ...more
Sep 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Like her previous books this is a good 'chick lit' to read. Its less of a snapshot of one moment in a characters life, and more of a timeline of four friends and how their paths intertwine from beginning to end. Its gives a snapshot of each of the girls and how they grow and adapt to life. I really loved hearing about the characters and how theirs lives had changed and how she sent them all down different paths (but still intertwining) it was like reading four different books in one.

The only dow
Roma Del
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Excellent. The characters are well developed. Lots of twists and turns. I found myself anxious to see what happens to each of the four women.
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read - wonderfully told story! I could not put it down!
Lyn Ford
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book, it is one of my all time favourites
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I have to admit, at first I was not drawn in by the book. I had not read the reviews and did not realise it was in the romance genre, not something I would usually choose on my reading list. I found myself thinking this is the kind of book teenagers read when they start having their first romantic encounters, the boarding school and the upper-class setting quite literally alien to me. However, as the novel progresses, and the stories are framed around real historic events (South Africa's end to ...more
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My most favourite book ever.
Mar 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is the story (SPOILER ALLEART!) :
The novel is set during 1980/1990,when is South Africa there was apartheid.
Rianne is a white South African girl. She’s beautiful, wealthy and thoroughly spoilt, she has the world at her feet but one day her aunt decided to send her to a college in Englad. Here the girl has to face an all new social condition for her : people are treated equally, regardless of skin color. She became friend with three girls : Gabrielle, intelligent, loyal and always worrying
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rianne De Zoete è bella, giovane, ricca, desiderata e viziata. Non esiste nulla che non possa comprare o ottenere.
Ecco gli ingredienti giusti per un harmony di successo, da leggere la sera al calduccio, sotto la propria coperta di pile mentre si è sdraiati sul divano a bere una camomilla.
E’ un romanzo abbastanza leggero, rilassante e assolutamente piacevole.
Ho trovato l’ambientazione non banale e neppure il tema di fondo, siamo negli anni 80 in un Sudafrica che fa da teatro all’apartheid, alla l
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book. Ah!
I didn't like it. But why? I mean, the premise is great, the writing style flows smoothly,... and yet it sucks. Let's start with the main reason: the goddamn characters. They were positively terrible. They were flat, nasty and unsympathetic. Let's take a close look:
Rianne; I wanted to punch her several times throughout the books. What an absolute piece of shit. Both awful AND boring. And her "character development" was really bad. She just suddenly became a completely different pe
Jul 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be about vampires. The cover and the title were what gave me that impression… I read the back and thought maybe it’s not…? Well it for sure isn’t about vampires!

Like the description states, it follows the lives of 4 girls through two decades. And that sounds boring, because what can you say about someone’s life in 20 years that you would want to keep reading about? Well this book was fantastic.

Rianne, Charmaine, Gabby and Nathalie are
Jul 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ursula Kibido
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I loved Lokko's Bitter Chocolate sometime ago and when I came across this at the library, I thought great, let me take this one. I was sooo bored with this book. Too much going on and very predictable. I didn't want to finish it as within the first chapter I could actually predict what was going to happen with each of the 4 characters. Ok maybe I didn't forsee one of them dying. The only reason I finished the book was so I could see if I had predicted correctly, and... hey what do you know, I wa ...more
Nurul Rabat
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm so in love with this book! Keep re-reading it whenever I have time or short of novels. The characters' developments, friendship, love story, histories and beyond were all there. I love how a book can show the vast knowledge of the writer. This is the first time I read about my home country, Malaysia in an English novel, which is so awesome. There were also some communications in Malay between Sacha and his Nek that sounded genuine & on point. Good job Lesley Lokko!
Sibat Sheikh
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bought this book in literally 5 minutes so I wouldn't miss my train! I was HOOKED! Loved it from cover to cover. Enjoyed how the author was able to capture her readers by flipping back and forth between four different lives of 4 different people and how everyone finally met. However, Lesley Lokko's books are all quite similar: different lives that interconnect in some way. Sundowners will definitely be my favourite novel for sometime.
Mike Murphy
As the saying goes, 'know your enemy' and so I picked this up and rattled through it. As far as I can tell, the author handles the norms of the genre pretty well and also attempts to deal with much bigger themes with varying degrees of success. The story rolls through at a fair pace, and I was happy to stick with it til the end. I guess it would work as a poolside read, though maybe I'd have to read it inside my copy of the LRB.
Aug 14, 2010 marked it as to-read
Ystävyyden aurinko seuraa neljän tytön elämänmenoa kahdenkymmenen vuoden ajan neljällä mantereella niin huumorintajuisesti ja huolella henkilönsä rakentaen, että lukija voi kokea itsensä seurueen viidenneksi jäseneksi. Lesley Lokko syntyi Skotlannissa (1964) ghanalais-skotlantilaiseen perheeseen, varttui Ghanassa ja suoritti opintonsa kolmella mantereella. Hän on työskennellyt rotukysymysten parissa paitsi esikoisromaanissaan, myös alallaan arkkitehtina.
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I've ever read. The characters are likeable and as there's 4 girls I found I could relate a little bit to each one. I found I cared about what happened to each of them, and they were close friends in a way that was believable and not cheesy.
I bought this for a summer holiday and it was perfect for picking up and putting down - not like books where you have to re-read the last few pages to remember what's happening.
Fab book!
Jodie Vass
Aug 08, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: girls after a girly read
This book was recommended to me by the woman in the book shop. She said everyone she knew who had read it loved it. I'm not experiencing that at all. It is merely ok so far and really lacking any meaningful content. I am currently approx 170 pages in and I am hoping it all pulls together into something great at the end!!!
Jun 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: lent-out
a little on the long side [well it IS supposed to encompass 20 years..:] - but if you can get through it... you'll enjoy it. it's a little deeper than your typical 'beach read' and definitely not a super thick, heavy drama. it's got everything [i:] could want in a book - politics, drama, taboo romance, and bitchy girls.
Camilla Fals
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
I still havent found a single book of Lesley Lokko that i didn't enjoy. This one was a fresh reading, a chick-lit book that i've loved with all my heart. She's the only author of this type of novels who's able to make me feel something while reading them. My favorite one is one secret summer but i'd recommend sundowners to anyone of my friends!
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this is my favourite book ever to date. I have read it at least 4 times already and no doubt I will read it a thousand more times.
There is a vast depth to every character and the plot is full of twists and turns whilst paralleling the social, political and economical mutterings of each decade visited.
Oct 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book of all time! Reread it recently and loved it even more the second time round. A wonderfully written story about love and lasting friendships. Reading the book, you can't help but care for the girls and young women as they try to work out their place in the world and forget their pasts.
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LESLEY spent seven years training as an architect but always dreamed of writing a novel. Eight novels (and counting) later, and aside from building her own home in Ghana, she hasn’t looked back. She splits her time between Johannesburg, Accra and London, (although now she’s dreaming of a flat in Edinburgh) and counts the BA lounges at Heathrow amongst her favourite places in the world.
More about Lesley Lokko...

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“How could you teach someone to survive? You pointed them in the right direction and hoped they'd swim, not sink. Waving, not drowning. There are more important things in life than individual happiness. It was an easy trap to fall into, mistaking a lack of self-direction for an expression of love.” 8 likes
“He wasn't there to save her. She must know how to save herself.” 6 likes
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