Monday, December 26, 2011

Review: The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Title: The Bungalow 
Author: Sarah Jio 
Genre:  Fiction 
Publisher: Plume
Number of Pages: 320 
Source: Sent to me from the author
Release Date: December 27, 2011

A sweeping World War II saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting.
In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.
A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.

The Bungalow is one of those rare books that will sweep you back in time and become lost in the story. I loved this book to pieces. You know those books where you can tell by the first paragraph that you are just going to love it? That's how The Bungalow was for me. It's one of my favorite books of the year.

Anne Calloway is engaged to be married, but wants more out of life. When her best friend Kitty signs up to be an Army nurse, Anne risks everything and does the same. The two are sent to the South Pacific, Bora Bora. Once on the island the men they meet change them forever.  Even though Anne is engaged to be married, she strikes up a friendship with Westry, and what happens next is just full of mystery, love, heartache and betrayal.The mystery to the book was an added bonus, I enjoyed watching Anne figuring it out. What was nice about the mystery was how it started out with present day Anne, then went to young Anne and ended with present day Anne again. There is enough of a twist to it the mystery that it had me second guessing a few times if my ideas as to who the villain was were right or wrong.

 The secondary characters in this book just wormed their way into my heart. Kitty was wonderful as Anne's best friend. I can't remember the last time I loved to hate someone so much. The nurses that they work with were great, as were the soldiers they dated. They allowed the reader to experience the war through their eyes as well as the heroines.  Anne's fiance was fun to like, then resent then like again. Westry though, the soldier who wins Anne's heart won me over. He was just so sweet and perfect. He and Anne did their best to fight their feelings for one another, but it was impossible. The emotions they went through from being friends to realizing they felt more for each other was just heartwarming.

The Bungalow just warmed my heart and made me experience just about every emotion there was. I actually cried a little (Ok a lot)  watching the events unfold with the war and everything that happened with it. This is just a gem of a book and I can't wait to read more by Sarah Jio.