Book Review: The Violets of March by Sarah Jio


Rating: 4 / 5

Nearly a decade ago, Emily Wilson was the ‘it’ girl.  She had a wildly successful New York Times bestseller and had married a wonderful guy.  Today, however, things have changed; her husband admitted that he has been seeing someone else and wants to pursue that relationship, and for years she has plagued with writer’s block, and has not written a second novel.  With her divorce papers freshly signed, she flees New York City to Bainbridge Island off the West Coast, to her Aunt Bee’s house.  Although Bee is not her real aunt, she has been a constant presence in Emily’s life, and as a child, Emily had spent many summers at Bainbridge Island.  While spending the month there, she comes across a red velvet diary and opens up the mystery about her Aunt Bee, my mother, and a tragic incident that happened in the 40s.

The Violets of March is a cute and quaint story about a woman’s journey to heal herself and move forward with life. Emily is a likable character; I wouldn’t go so far as to say she is strong, but she is resilient and more often than not, rational.  She is a good mechanism to get the real story going, which is the mystery with Bee’s past, and why is she so hesitant to tell Emily the truth. The only grip I had with The Violets of March (and it was a minor one) is that I felt Emily rushed right back into a relationship.  She was married to Joel for years, and in less than two weeks, she was already involved with someone else.  I know in real life there are no timelines for these things, but it felt too contrived and rushed.

I enjoyed both story lines, but the events documented in the diary and its author were far more fascinating.  I kept turning the pages waiting to figure out how Esther’s story and her life intertwined with Bee’s and the residents on Bainbridge Island.  I’m on the fence about the ultimate ending, but the journey Jio takes the reader on is moving and emotional.  The Violets of March is an easy and enchanting read and can quickly be devoured in one sitting.

Other Sarah Jio books:
Blackberry Winter
The Bungalow

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