I read a lot of books in 2011 and hands down, one of my favorites was read in the last few hours of the year.
The Violets of March (affiliate) is the debut novel from Sarah Jio. No lie, I finished this book within 24 hours – including sitting in Starbucks for 2 hours, completely enraptured in the second half of the book, oblivious to the world around me because I had to know what happened next. Beyond that, I’m pretty certain I made a fool of myself, complete with audible gasps and a few tears. It was a complete and total page turner.
As the book begins we meet Emily Wilson, a newly divorced author living in New York City. Needing time to heal from her divorce, she returns to the home of her Aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island, just off the Seattle coast, where she spent her childhood summers. Within the first week, she meets many of the eclectic residents, including Aunt Bee’s best friend, Evelyn, and gets asked out by two different men, one of whom was a high school boyfriend. Emily also discovers a red velvet diary/manuscript written in 1943.
As Emily reads the diary, presented as a dual storyline throughout the novel, she becomes increasingly passionate about finding out what happened to the people she had so deeply connected with. When the story ends abruptly, she starts to dig deeper. As she researches the people and the story the diary shares, Emily begins to realize just how deeply it intertwines with her own life.
Jio does an amazing job of capturing the reader’s attention and painting the scenes in this story. Although I’ve never been to Bainbridge Island, I felt like I could completely visualize the scenery, the quirky characters, and the relaxed lifestyle.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this novel! It is an excellent first effort from Sarah Jio. I’m excited to get my hands on a copy of her second book, The Bungalow, that was just released.
You can see the other books I’ve reviewed here.