Book Review: The Violets of March – Sarah Jio

Title: The Violets of March
Author: Sarah Jio
ISBN: 9780452297036
Pages: 304
Release Date: April 26, 2011
Publisher: Plume
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

After Emily Wilson’s marriage falls apart, she has nothing to fall back on.  After all, though she was once a best-selling author, she hasn’t been able to write a second novel in nearly a decade.  She needs to get away, to heal from the blows life has dealt her, and the perfect opportunity comes from her great aunt Bee, who lives on Bainbridge Island.  But what Emily doesn’t expect is that a mystery will present itself once she arrives and she will have to dig up the secrets of her aunt’s past in order to understand.

Review:

The Violets of March is a wonderful little book about a woman escaping for a time to heal from all those hurts that come with a stalled career and a failed marriage.  Emily is broken when the novel begins.  She can’t understand how things went so wrong, when ten years ago she was on top of the world.  She is a sympathetic and appealing character, and it’s wonderful to see her put herself back together as she throws herself into solving the decades-old mystery of the diary she finds in her aunt’s house.

The dual storylines are handled well by Jio; she has that crucial ability to understand exactly when these time jumps should take place and how much she should reveal.  As a result, the reader is kept in suspense by both storylines.  I never found myself wishing I was reading a different storyline, which happens all too often in novels such as this.  As the story from the past begins to come together, it becomes clear where the story is going, though Jio does throw a few twists and surprises in for good measure.

The place where The Violets of March really excels is in its descriptions.  Jio makes the reader feel like they are on Bainbridge Island, walking barefoot on the beach, wiggling their toes in the warm sand.  Though I have never visited this island, I can picture it clearly in my mind from Jio’s lush descriptions.  She creates a wonderful sense of place, complete with a somewhat eccentric yet lovable cast of characters, and it makes this book immensely appealing.

I did have a few minor quibbles with The Violets of March, first, that the diary wasn’t really believable as an actual diary a person would write, but instead seemed like someone’s attempt at a novelization.  Additionally, Emily’s journey back into love seemed much too fast for me, especially considering she was only on the island for one month.  Still, despite these issues, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel.  This is one of those books that presents a wonderful escape and you’ll want to read it in one sitting.

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Comments

  1. I’ve wanted to read this one since it came out. You’re review has made me want to bump it up on the list.

  2. I’ve wanted to read this one since it came out. You’re review has made me want to bump it up on the list.

  3. I really enjoyed this book too. I agree with your observations, I also found the similar names, the use of the “E” names confusing at times but in all I enjoyed the picture the story drew for me.
    I’m reading her upcoming The Bungalow now, it’s equally as charming.

  4. I really enjoyed this book too. I agree with your observations, I also found the similar names, the use of the “E” names confusing at times but in all I enjoyed the picture the story drew for me.
    I’m reading her upcoming The Bungalow now, it’s equally as charming.

  5. I have heard good things about this book from a few bloggers, and it seems like something that I would really like. Sometimes I am in need of a sedate and gentle book, and it sounds like this one would fit that bill perfectly. Great review on this one today, Swapna!

  6. I have heard good things about this book from a few bloggers, and it seems like something that I would really like. Sometimes I am in need of a sedate and gentle book, and it sounds like this one would fit that bill perfectly. Great review on this one today, Swapna!

  7. I hope to get to this one soon – it sounds wonderful!

  8. I hope to get to this one soon – it sounds wonderful!

  9. I definitely enjoyed this one, too, though I agree with your thoughts on the diary reading less like a journal and more like a book. Still, it was a very descriptive and evocative story!

    I’m almost done with Jio’s The Bungalow now and love this one even more than her first book!

  10. I definitely enjoyed this one, too, though I agree with your thoughts on the diary reading less like a journal and more like a book. Still, it was a very descriptive and evocative story!

    I’m almost done with Jio’s The Bungalow now and love this one even more than her first book!

  11. Thanks for the lovely review, Swapna! I really appreciate you reading VIOLETS and hope you enjoy THE BUNGALOW just as much! xo

  12. Thanks for the lovely review, Swapna! I really appreciate you reading VIOLETS and hope you enjoy THE BUNGALOW just as much! xo

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