Review: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Title: Morning Glory
Author: Sarah Jio

Honestly, I’m not sure how to write this review. I just love Jio’s books and her ability to weave the past into the present. Even when I figure out the twist early, I’m still completely hooked.Morning Glory is yet another fantastic novel by Jio.

Morning Glory centers around a houseboat in Seattle. In the present day, Ada is trying to escape the pain that has come to cover her entire life. In the past, Penny is trying to be the wife she thinks her husband needs while trying to be happy. The connections formed between the two, decades apart, are wonderful.

Ada is an amazing character. She’s strong when others would have fallen apart, even though she can’t see that in herself. She isn’t sure if she’s ready to move on with her life and looks to her past for signs of her future. Alex is equally wonderful, giving Ada the space she needs, yet he’s there for her and understands that her past has helped shape her. He doesn’t try to be her world, but instead just wants to be a part of it. Their relationship was sweet and heartwarming, bringing me to tears a few times.

Penny is a young bride that doesn’t feel like she fits in with her husband’s world. He’s a famous artist and devotes his life to his work, giving Penny time when he can. Penny tries to understand and be the wife he needs, but when Collin comes along and gives her the attention she deserves, things become tangled. I felt for Penny. She wants to be the perfect housewife, but she’s sacrificing herself in order to fit that mold. I admire her for trying to be there for her husband, but I also admire her for knowing when she’s losing herself and working to find herself again.

The characters of Boat Street are amazing. They are what really make this novel shine. You know they are keeping a secret, yet they continue to act as though nothing is wrong. They each played a part in the past and unraveling their stories is just as interesting as the main mystery. Everything is important and the little clues Jio drops throughout the novel are delicious.

Morning Glory is a fantastic novel about two women, decades apart, both struggling to find themselves again. There’s romance and mystery, all wrapped up in the quaint community of Boat Street. This novel will pull at your heart, give you tears, and make you smile. Once again, Jio has written a fantastic novel that definitely is a must read.

If Morning Glory sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

Title: The Last Camellia
Author: Sarah Jio
Rating: ★★★★★

Yet another fantastic Jio novel, this time with a bit of a serial killer mystery thrown in. It was worth staying up late to read. There’s always coffee for the morning after a good book.

The Last Camellia takes place at a manor house in England as World War II encroaches on their doorstep as well as more than half a century later. In the ’40s, it is Flora’s story we are following as she works as a nanny, all the while being blackmailed into searching for a rare, one-of-a-kind camellia tree. She doesn’t expect to love the children she’s taking care of, or to fall in love while at the manor house, but she can’t help it. More than half a century later, Addison and her husband take up residence for the summer as Addison tries to escape her past without letting it ruin her future.

The murder mystery is fantastic. I had my suspicions, but the reveal was dramatic and wonderful. It was amazing to see all these clues fall together in one pivotal moment. And the parallels between the past and the present lined up, leaving me on the edge of my seat and forgoing sleep just to finish. I cared so much for what happened to Flora and Addison that I couldn’t put the book down, even as my eyes fought to close.

Flora wants so much to be the good, helpful daughter who solves her parents’ problems. Her desires are played on and she is sent to England to pose as a nanny while working for a flower thief ring. She’s only supposed to gain the family’s trust, find the camellia, and report back. She soon finds herself enjoying taking care of the children and seeing them come alive. She makes friends in the house staff. She falls in love with the eldest son. But the con man she’s working for is always looming in the background, threatening her family if she doesn’t cooperate. On top of that, her appearance falls right in the middle of a serial killer’s rein, when girls are disappearing and no one knows who is behind it, even though they all have their suspicions.

Addison has been trying to escape what happened 15 years ago ever since the night it happened. She’s burdened by what happened in one night and someone won’t let her forget. She tries escaping to England, thinking getting away from the scene of the crime will give her a reprieve and a chance to come clean to her husband. The opportunity rarely presents itself, however, and she’s left feeling more confused than ever. She’s helping her husband write his novel, feeling inspired by the manor house they are living in. Even as everything looks like it’s falling into place, the truth starts to pop up and she can’t escape it this time.

I think at this point it’s safe to say Jio is one of my favorite authors. She has such a way with words, of blending the past and the present. Her novels show that everything is connected, even through time. What affects one person years ago can still have the power to affect people today. The stories are never easily confused, with each story having clear characters and plot, but as the novel carries on, the weaves and braids start to show themselves and it’s wonderful every time.

The Last Camellia is a superb story spanning decades that will have your heart in your throat, hands clutching the pages, needing to read just one more page. It grabs you right away and doesn’t let go until long after you’ve read the last word. This is a must read book.

If The Last Camellia sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Title: The Violets of March
Author: Sarah Jio
Rating: ★★★★★

This is only the second book of Jio’s I’ve read, but it’s another home run.

In The Violets of March, Emily is going through a bit of a rough patch. She’s getting a divorce and hasn’t been able to write a decent word since the publication of her first novel 8 years prior. At the suggestion of her best friend Annabelle, she travels to Bainbridge Island in Washington. It’s always had a special palace in her heart and Annabella thinks its exactly what she needs.

Once there, Emily finds a small notebook with a fascinating story unfolding on its pages. The story of Ester and the tragedy that befalls her is what draws Emily in and starts the healing process.

Every character in this book is wonderful. Aunt Bee is just eclectic enough, Jack is the sweetheart, and even the characters in the story within the story are well-written. They are what make this novel so engaging. They are what make the words on the page come to life and wrap you up in the beauty of the island.

There is a romance in this novel, but instead of distracting from the character building, it only aids Emily in the search for herself. The relationships in the novel only add to the fantastic characterizations.

Something else I love about Jio’s writing is how easily she can take me into the setting of the story. There is something about her writing that just draws you in so well that when she describes the water, you can see it, smell it, hear it, taste it, and feel it. You are immediately pulled in and even when you stop reading, everything lingers.

TheViolets of March is a superb novel about family secrets and finding out who you really are. It pulls you right onto Bainbridge Island and wraps you up in the sea breeze. I is another fantastic novel by Jio and only serves to prove that Jo is an author you must read.

If The Violets of March sounds like your kind of novel, you can purchase it here:
Barnes and Noble

Can’t Wait for Mondays: Morning Glory

I was introduced to Sarah Jio when her novel Blackberry Winter was a Kindle Daily Deal. Her name had never crossed my radar before, but the book sounded good and it was on sale. Those are two things I can’t resist. I didn’t realize at the time that I would love her words as much as I did. Sometimes it takes a couple of books before I know I’ve found an author I love. I knew halfway through Blackberry Winter that Jio would be taking up a prominent spot on my bookshelves.

Her next novel, Morning Glory, is expected to be published November 26 and that feels entirely too far away.

From Amazon:

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959

Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

I love how Jio mixes history with the current times. Her focus on how the past can affect today is something I have always been fascinated by and I’ve yet to find an author who can blend the two as well as Jio. I can’t pinpoint the exact reason I love her novels so much, but there’s something about the characters and how timeless they are that I adore. I will be telling everyone I can to read her novels.

I will read anything Jio publishes and Morning Glory is no exception. I really can’t wait for this novel.

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

I haven’t read anything of Jio’s before. Blackberry Winter was a Kindle Daily Deal and the description sounded interesting. At worst, I’d be out three dollars. At best, I’d find one of those gems that sneak up on you. Blackberry Winter is definitely a gem.

Blackberry Winter weaves together two different tales of struggles and loss. Vera heads to work one evening and when she leaves there is snow blanketing the ground and her son is gone. Claire’s life is in pieces and it takes a snow storm to put her on the path to fixing herself. The stories are beautifully interwoven, constantly pulling at my heart and never giving a moment of rest.

I did figure out early on most of how the characters are connected. I initially thought that knowing the big mystery would take me out of the novel. It didn’t at all. I still needed to know how things got from point A to point B and all the little pieces in the middle.

Vera’s story had me in tears. The pain she went through is something no mother should ever have to go through. And to have it set in 1933, when times were dire or times were fantastic, all depending on how much money there was to your name. She worked hard to make life as good as she could for her son, and it was so easy to feel the love she had for him.

Claire is going through her own heartache. Her world has been broken to bits and she’s not sure how she’s supposed to put it back together. When a May snowstorm hits and she comes the story of Vera and Daniel Ray, something in her compels her to dig the truth out. She needs to find out how Vera’s story ends and I loved going on that journey with her.

Sarah Jio is an author that hadn’t been on my radar before. But after reading Blackberry Winter, I will definitely be reading more of her writings. She wove a breathtaking story through these pages and had me tearing up at the end. This is a book that needs to be read.