Tag Archives: Women’s Fiction

Review: The Bungalow

The Bungalow

The Bungalow
By Sarah Jio
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452297678, December 27, 2011, 320pp.)

The Short of It:

An easy, effortless read matched with a lush, tropical setting.

The Rest Of It:

It is the summer of 1942. Anne Calloway, in her early twenties and newly engaged, makes a split decision to join the Army Nurse Corps. She loves her fiancé but questions if their relationship has the passion to make it work. That, and the deep need she feels to do something for her country sends her to Bora-Bora, where she meets Westry. At first, they are just friendly, but when they begin to share a very special place with each other, they find that they cannot ignore the attraction any longer.

What I love about Sarah Jio is that she takes what could be a very sappy romance and turns it into something else. Yes, there is romance and many are always shocked when I read a book like this one, but it takes more than romance to pull me in. For one, the setting. A gorgeous, lush, tropical beach locale and a cozy little bungalow overlooking the ocean…my dream getaway. Two, the fact that World War II looms over them, a constant reminder that their world could be shattered at any moment. Three, a mystery involving the murder of a local and quite possibly, Anne’s closest friend.

I picked this up thinking that I’d read a few chapters and ended up reading it in one sitting. It’s a page turner, for sure. I will say, that the details surrounding the mystery seem a little out there. Not sure that part was as realistic as it could have been, but overall, the story was well-paced and enjoyable to read.

If you enjoyed Sarah’s first book, The Violets of March, you’ll enjoy this one as well. It has the same, easy feel to it and once again includes a fantastic setting.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Net Galley.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The Violets of March

The Violets of March

The Violets of March
By Sarah Jio
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452297036, April 2011, 304pp.)

The Short of It:

Thoroughly charming.

The Rest of It:

After her husband leaves her for another woman, Emily decides to spend a month on Bainbridge Island, visiting her Aunt Bee whom she hasn’t seen in quite some time. Being on the island is like a restorative tonic. She settles in immediately and thinks back to happier times. When things were less complicated and well…simple. 

One night, unable to sleep, she opens her nightstand and finds a red velvet diary. The love story inside reads like a novel so she’s not sure if what she is reading is a true story, and if it is…who are these people? Emily, a successful writer by trade, is completely taken with the writing and finds herself eagerly turning the pages whenever she can sneak a moment away from her Aunt. What she doesn’t know, is that the diary holds a family secret that could change her life forever.

The Violets of March is a good mix of setting, story and characters. The setting, gorgeous Bainbridge Island, is hard to ignore. While reading this book, I could smell the ocean, feel the breeze, etc. The story was a little meatier than I expected which I thoroughly enjoyed. There’s nothing like a good family secret to really keep you guessing. I also found the characters to be quite charming. Emily is very likable and I immediately wanted the best for her. Her Aunt Bee was interesting and complex and the friendships on the island are wrought with tension, but realistically so.

To sum it up, I had a hard time putting it down and I’ve already mentioned the book to a few of my friends. Pull up a beach chair, grab a refreshing drink and read it this summer.

This is Sarah Jio’s first book, but her next book, The Bungalow, comes out next year. Click here is you want to see the cover! It’s gorgeous!

Source: Sent to me by the author.

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Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.