Tuesday, July 12, 2011
THE VIOLETS OF MARCH by Sarah Jio
When Emily gets to Bainbridge, she finds a diary from the 1940's in the room Bee puts her in. It tells the story of Esther and Elliot. They were once engaged but she broke it off when she thought he was cheating on her. She goes on to marry another man but remains in love with Elliot. Emily is fascinated and wants to know more, but finds her aunt and other residents of the island are all very secretive. In the meantime, there is handsome Jack who invites her on a date but for some reason Bee disapproves of him though won't tell Emily why.
I really wanted to love this book, it had great elements: a mysterious diary, island secrets, romance. And the prose was beautiful. Sarah Jio can write beautifully. What she can't do however, is put together a realistic plot.
The first half of the book was pretty good but then it all falls apart. The diary story and how it fits into the present expects the reader to suspend all belief that there could be so many coincidences in one book. There were enough coincidences to fill four books. And really, Esther is not some tragic figure. She is a selfish spoiled brat who does something so incredibly selfish at the end of her story. Was I supposed to like her and feel bad for a tragic love affair? I think not.
And Emily started to grate on me. I'm a bit of a cynic in the love department but I'm not sure how even a non-cynic could believe in the relationship between her and Jack.
Spoiler alert: Her husband cheats on her and she still falls for Jack even though he is secretive and she thinks he's lying to her. And within a month, they have fallen in love and gotten engaged though they really only went on a few dates. I don't think so. Why does that have to be the happy ending? Can't she be alone to rediscover herself for a minute. It was just too unrealistic especially when you add in the million coincidences in this book. And surprise- ex-hubby dumps new fiance and wants Emily back. How trite. How many times have we seen that one?
I had such high hopes but the book left a bad taste in my mouth. Was it the author or the editor who decided to treat the readers like morons? I can appreciate a light beach read, but this just didn't even measure up to that.
I wish Jio better luck with her next novel. There is talent but that was not enough for this story.
It does appear from other reviews that my feelings are in the minority but I believe a lot of readers let the bad plot slide because of the prose and potential of this author. Not me. I want my $9.99 back.
my generous rating- 2.5/5. Had I written this review yesterday after I finished, it would have been lower. I do not recommend.