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Jenna's November book pick is a 'dazzling' international debut

Jenna is excited for us to "fall in love" with the characters.
JBH book

Jenna Bush Hager’s next Read With Jenna book club pick will take you to the lush metropolis of Singapore, just as the first signs of winter to start to settle in.

The Sun Sets in Singapore” by Kehinde Fadipe, Jenna’s pick for November, is set amid the hustle and bustle of Singapore, where three Nigerian expats are attempting to live their best lives.

“The Sun Sets in Singapore” by Kehinde Fadipe

But like most millennials, Dara, Amaka and Lillian are still figuring out what living their best lives truly means.

“I think you will fall in love with this trio of women because you will relate to them, you will fall in love with Singapore and you will leave with more compassion and more understanding,” Jenna Bush Hager says of what she calls the “dazzling debut novel.”

“The Sun Sets in Singapore” publishes on Oct. 31, and Jenna can’t wait for readers to get their hands on a copy.

“It’s about three best friends who each are at a different stage in their lives, even though they’re the same age, which I find to be so relevant for women these days,” Jenna says. “I loved this story about friendship, who we lean on, female ambition and what defines us.”

The luxurious façade of the three women’s lives in the Lion City unexpectedly comes crashing down once a handsome newcomer enters the Singaporean scene, Fadipe tells

“It’s about three Black women in Singapore living their #BlackGirlMagic life from the outside, but who are running away from something in their past,” Fadipe says. “A handsome and mysterious man moves to Singapore, and creates chaos in each woman’s life in different ways, but also forces them to address some of the very things that they were running away from.”

Fadipe, a British actor, teacher and writer who’s lived in Singapore for 10 years, says the idea for the book came after she finished her first manuscript, which she describes as “dark and heavy.”

After having her first child, Fadipe says she wanted a writing project that was more fun to work on, and set a goal to publish a mini chapter each week on her blog based on “pastiches” of people she was meeting in Singapore.

“At that time, I didn’t have any grand plans. I just wanted something light and when I knew I wanted to write about the lots of different Black women I was meeting here, as well as characters in general,” she says.

Fadipe says the first three chapters of “The Sun Sets in Singapore” are very similar to her original blog posts, and that she has known the narrative arc of the story when she started the story seven years ago.

“How do you move on to the next stage of life if, A: you’re on the wrong path to begin with, or B: maybe you’re on the right path, but the very things that helped you do well are the things that are holding you back now?” she shares of the storyline.

“I think each character is stuck in some way, and to move forward, she has to address the things that have that holding her back — but sometimes those are the very things that have been propelling them forward,” she adds.

She also shares her hopes for what her readers ask themselves after they finish her debut novel.

“I hope that people ask themselves if there’s space for more literature about Black diaspora,” she says. “I hope people ask themselves, ‘Why haven’t I read more books about Black men and women in this country or that country or this country?’ And I hope that people ask for more of that.”

As for becoming the next Read With Jenna author, Fadipe says she doesn’t think she’s truly processed it, and calls the moment “surreal.”

“What’s really exciting is the possibility of being read by lots of people that wouldn’t have read it otherwise,” she says. “Honestly, just having the book published was it, so anything after that, it’s really just sprinkles. But this is like gold-dusted sprinkles — edible gold sprinkles.”