Monday, October 7, 2013

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

This week the library’s Tuesday and Thursday book discussion groups will discuss The Violets of March by Sarah Jio. The main character, Emily, had a best-selling novel eight years ago but is now struggling to write. Her husband Joel, who literally appeared in GQ once as a most eligible “regular guy bachelor,” has left her for another woman. She lives in New York but regularly spent time as a child at the home of her Aunt Bee on Bainbridge Island off the coast of Washington State.

Emily heads to Bainbridge once again to recover from her divorce, find solace, and be healed, planning to stay there the entire month of March (this is important because of the book’s title). She hasn’t cried over her divorce, and her best friend hopes she will by the time the visit ends.

We meet a lot of characters on Bainbridge, mostly of her aunt’s generation and in their eighties. We do meet two potential love interests for Emily, Greg, an old boyfriend, and Jack, who her aunt dislikes and who seems to have a mysterious connection to Emily’s own family.

From the beginning of her visit, Emily starts to feel there is a “big secret” no one wants to share with her. She stays in a bedroom she has never slept in before, and in the drawer of the bedside table she finds an old diary with a red velvet cover. She can’t resist reading it, written in 1943, and more characters are introduced through the diary. Is it a diary, or a start of a novel? Emily isn’t sure.

I did get a nice feel for Bainbridge Island, and the author does a good job of describing the peaceful feeling that can come from hearing the sea. This is basically a romance with a touch of history and mystery; if you enjoy books of that sort, you might enjoy The Violets of March.

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