All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Fearless by Fiona Higgins

on February 2, 2017

Fiona Higgins
Allen & Unwin
2016, 392p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Six strangers from across the world converge on the tropical island of Bali to attend a course designed to help them face their fears. Their backgrounds are as diverse as their fears – which range from flying, public speaking and heights, through to intimacy, failure and death…

Friendships and even romance blossoms as the participants are put through a series of challenges which are unusual, confronting and sometimes hilarious. A week of fun in the sun suddenly tranforms into something far more serious, however, when the unthinkable happens – a tragic disaster that puts the group in deadly danger that will test the individual courage of every member…

Shocking, powerful and utterly gripping, Fearless takes you to the edge and makes you look down.

I loved The Mother’s Group by Fiona Higgins and quite enjoyed Wife On The Run so I asked my husband if he might purchase this book for me as my Christmas present from “Santa”. I included it in my February TBR pile and it was the first book I ended up choosing to read.

Mixed circumstances bring 6 strangers to the same group in Bali. Known as ‘Fearless’, it’s a workshop designed to help people confront their worst fears so that they can then move past them. The fears are mixed….fear of flying, fear of public speaking, fear of heights, fear of intimacy, fear of snakes, fear of failure…..maybe even fear of death. Each of the six participants share a little about themselves as they attempt to overcome the fears that they believe are holding them back in various aspects of their lives.

I’ve never been to Bali and to be honest, I don’t really see the allure. It’s not somewhere I’d ever choose to go and I probably have to revoke my Australian citizenship right now for such an admission. For many Aussies, it’s an ideal holiday destination. It’s close and it’s cheap…..and few things are when you live all the way down here. Each of them are in Bali for different reasons and for some, Bali is a long way from home in terms of living conditions. There’s definitely a bit of culture shock. Fiona Higgins has spent some years living in Indonesia and that definitely showed as there was a lot of information about Bali and the Javanese that come and work there, things that I didn’t really know about before reading this.

As the blurb mentions, there’s a rather shocking incident/disaster that puts the lives of everyone in the group in danger and I have to admit, I’d been reading so long that by the time it occurred I’d kind of forgotten that there was going to be something that happened. It seemed to come up out of no where but also be very late in the story. To be honest, I wasn’t a big fan of that particular part of the story line… just felt like an attempt to be current but without even putting a deeper meaning into it, just picking the easiest most cliche option and going with it. Despite the tragedy there are a large number of things that are incredibly convenient. One of the members of the Fearless group speaks quite fluent Indonesian which ends up being incredibly helpful and there are some other things as well that came across as all being quite a bit too easy despite the seriousness of the situation.

For anyone who has read The Mother’s Group and is curious about what happened to Cara, then Fearless should help in some ways with that. Cara is one of the participants of the ‘Fearless’ group and we do learn quite a bit about how she’s coped (or not) in the years since the incident. And although I admit that I was really excited to discover that one of those participants was Cara, I do have to admit that I found the rest of them kind of lacklustre and a little, well, obvious. The Italian fashion photographer, the dweeby English birdwatcher. There wasn’t a lot of subtlety in the portrayals and in the beginning, they all seemed to fit rather neatly into the stereotypical boxes of their nationality.

The idea of the workshop overcoming the individual fears was interesting and the activities they had to undertake ranged from amusing to truly frightening! I also did really like the look at the leader of the Fearless program and how his attitudes changed after the incident towards the end of the book. That showed a bit more depth to that character. So while I liked the idea of the fear exploring (not sure I’d have the courage to confront my greatest fears!) there were other aspects that I just felt threw the book out. It was almost like reading two separate books: the book about the people exploring their fears and then a book about people who get caught up in a horrible act. I didn’t love this as much as I thought I was going to although I did like it. There were some interesting secondary characters that really helped flesh it out a bit but ultimately I wanted more from the six characters confronting their fears. I wanted them to show something that surprised me instead of doing, saying and feeling things that seemed quite predictable. And to be honest, I don’t even know what to say about Lorenzo.


Book #22 of 2017


Fearless is book #8 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017




3 responses to “Review: Fearless by Fiona Higgins

  1. Lily Malone says:

    I don’t think we’d ever go to Bali either. I would go – for the warm and because it’s close and cheap – but my hubs won’t have a bar of it after the whole Bali 9/Shapelle Corby thing.

  2. Bali doesn’t do it for me either….
    And I have this on my list to read, I almost picked it up last month. Soon hopefully.

  3. Deborah says:

    I’m with you re this. I didn’t mind the way the book was going before the incident and it almost seemed like two separate books.

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