Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Title: The Violets of March: A Novel

Author: Sarah Jio
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Publisher: Plume
Number of Pages: 296 (much too short!)
Source: Library

A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.
In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after. Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.(

I've been on a book fest gushing roll lately. This book is no exception. I found this book through a twitter friend-RaeOhio, who couldn't stop talking about it, and now I see why. I was a little hesitant to start this book, because very few literary fiction books are able to hold my attention the entire way through the book. (I'm a reverse book snob) I read this book while I was at my mom's and she looked at the cover and said: "What? No hot guy or a girl holding a knife?" I replied: "Mom...I'm reading a literary fiction book." I managed to stun her into silence.

The Violets of March is a beautifully written story about Emily Wilson who is trying to get over a recent divorce. When gets an invitation from her elderly Aunt Bee to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island, she jumps at the chance to escape New York City.  Once on the island, she finds a diary written by a woman named  Esther, and delves into solving the mystery surrounding the people in the diary. The story of both Ester and Emily absolutely captivated me, and I can't believe this is a debut novel.

There was just enough of a romance with Emily to sooth my need for a romance in a book, but this book was more about Emily discovering who she was again. I think what I liked best about Emily that she wasn't overly whiny and I was really able to feel what she was going through and liked her much more then I thought I would. In fact I loved all the characters in the book-her Aunt Bee, Bee's friend Evelyn, Henry, Jack and the mystery surrounding them all.  I haven't enjoyed a literary fiction book this much since I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

This was just a nice, refreshing read and I can't wait for Sarah Jio's next book. I picked this book up at the library and now I want to own it on my kindle and have a paper version of it. It's just that good. This book also makes me want to read Years of Grace by Margaret Ayers Barnes, but who knew it was so hard to find??