Title: The Violets of March
Author: Sarah Jio
304 pages, Publisher: Plume
Buy The Book: Amazon
Summary: 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. (Summary provided by Plume.)
What starts with a trip to her great aunt’s island home to mend a broken heart and the discovery of a red velvet diary (or is it a manuscript?) leads to the mystery of a lifetime for Emily Wilson, the protagonist in Sarah Jio’s wonderfully crafted debut novel, The Violets of March. I started reading this book on a Saturday afternoon, and I finished it by Sunday afternoon. To say it was a page turner is not only a cliché but an understatement as well. I simply could not put the book down until I knew the outcome of the mystery surrounding the red velvet journal.
Jio’s writing beautifully described Bainbridge Island in such a way that I have now added it to my bucket list of must-see destinations. The island was very much a character in itself and at one point almost every featured inhabitant of the island seems to be involved in the mystery that Emily is trying to solve. I enjoyed trying to guess which characters were being represented in the 1943 journal/manuscript. The conclusion of the mystery was absolutely not what I expected. I was shocked, because I totally thought I had it figured out about halfway through!
The Violets of March is a bright spot in the huge stack of books I’ve read so far this Spring. When I finished reading the book I immediately wished for a follow-up or companion novel so I could read more about Emily’s Bainbridge Island family. I highly recommend adding it to your Spring/Summer reading pile.