Tag: dual narrative

Jun 19

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Flowers 22

Happy Thursday, Bookworms!

Sometimes after having read something outside of my comfort zone, I like to follow it up with a comforting read. My happy place is women’s fiction. I hesitate to call it “chick lit,” because I tend to think of chick lit as sassy, but my comfort reads are decidedly sweet. I was in need of some comfort after reading (and maybe being a teeny bit traumatized by) Hannibal: Enemy of Rome so I picked up another Sarah Jio novel, The Violets of March

violets of marchSarah Jio man. She never disappoints with the sweetness, I tell you. The Violets of March begins with Emily Wilson attempting to recover from her recent divorce. After her picture perfect New York life crumbles, Emily takes refuge with her eccentric Aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island (a mere ferry ride away from Seattle.)

As Emily settles in with her aunt, she discovers a diary tucked into the guest room night stand. Completely enthralled by the story told in the diary, Emily’s own writer’s block begins to thaw as she uncovers a mystery dating back to 1943. Of course, it’s a Sarah Jio, so her trademark dual narrative style is on display in full force.

Y’all I think this is my favorite Sarah Jio to date. I liked the story lines in both the present and the past. It had quirky old ladies, mystery, flowers, and (of course) romance! If you’ve ever harbored a desire to escape your surroundings or suspected that flowers have mystical healing properties, you and this book will get along famously!

Fess up, Bookworms. How many of you have daydreamed about leaving your grown-up existence behind and holing up on an island? 

*If you make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will put it into the “buy myself a private island” fund, but give up and just put a clod of dirt in my bathtub and call it my island.*

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Jan 27

The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

Flowers, Historical Fiction 19

Hidey Ho Bookworms!

I’ve been feeling more blah than usual this winter. Perhaps the double dose of polar vortex is taking its toll, but I’ve got cabin fever something fierce. I’ve been finding refuge in my comfort fiction- short-ish novels with pretty covers and garden motifs. A while back, one of my favorite people in the UNIVERSE, Jennifer AKA The Relentless Reader, offered up some spare copies of Sarah Jio’s novel The Last Camellia. I said, “me, me, pick me!!!” into the twitter, and she sent me a book out of the goodness of her heart. (Shout out to Jen, she’s got winter way worse than I do, she’s up in Northern Wisconsin.)

thelastcamelliaThe Last Camellia is written in a dual narrative, which is delicious, because I love ping ponging back and forth in time. I’m a regular Marty McFly. The first part of the story is set on the eve of World War II. Flora is a young woman living with her parents in Brooklyn. She has a passion for horticulture (girl after my own heart) but her ambitions are stymied by her family’s poverty. Her parents are extremely kind and generous in the running of their bakery, but when you’re not getting enough dough for your, uh, dough, shady characters show up and try to shake you down for money. When Flora is offered the opportunity to go to England and hunt down the last remaining Middlebury Pink Camellia, she jumps at her chance to make some money for the family. Unfortunately. she’s stealing the rare flower for a crook who plans to sell it to the Nazis, but her conscience takes a back seat when it comes to her family’s welfare.

The second narrative is that of Addison… Addison married Rex, the son of a well-to-do family with connections to England’s aritstocracy… Or part of the aristocracy? Titles confuse me. Anyway, they two end up spending their summer in the very same manor Flora occupied 60 years earlier, and Addison is particularly entranced by the camellia orchard. Sadly for Addison, she can’t just get her garden on, because she’s being stalked by her scandalous past. This book has intrigue and drama and mystery. A few of the mystery elements seemed a little rushed at the end, but all in all, I found this book to be a nice little read. I think it’s impossible for me not to like a book about flowers.

Alright Bookworms. Let’s talk about comfort reading. Is there a genre of books you feel drawn to? What’s your happy place?

*If you choose to make a purchase through a link on this site, I will receive a small commission. I will not be spending the proceeds on camellias, because APPARENTLY, it’s too cold for them in central Illinois. Hmph.*

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