The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Friday, December 6, 2013

MORNING GLORY By Sarah Jio

Publisher:  Plume
Morning Glory by Sarah JioRelease Date:  November 26, 2013
Pages:  304

About the Book:  New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959
 
Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

Wanda's Review:  Sara Jio's signature style of writing never disappoints me. I've read all of her books and she has definitely become a favorite of mine. 

2008 - 33 year old Ada Santorini is living in New York. Her career was thriving, but her personal life had withered and died two years earlier when her perfect world changed forever. She is living with sadness in her heart and memories that taunt her. She is grieving for the loss of her husband and beautiful young daughter. Ada decides to leave her job, at a prosperous magazine, and departs for Seattle where she rents a houseboat. 

The houseboat community, at Lake Union, is occupied by people with a variety of lifestyles. Boat Street has quite a history and a big part of that history is a young woman, Penny Wentworth, who went missing there many years ago. 

Penny had been married to Dexter, a man 20 years her senior. Dexter was a successful artist and the most eligible bachelor in town when she met him. He was sensitive, creative, and a deeply caring man, but he was also fighting depression. They soon marry and for awhile seem to be happily married. Dexter had his art, but Penny became bored and needed something. She just didn't seem to fit into Dexter's world and feels he is slipping away from her. Penny meets a houseboat neighbor, Collin, who is building a boat, and soon fills her lonely moments with him and an affair develops.  

Soon after Ada moves into the houseboat community, she finds out she is living in the same houseboat that the missing woman had lived. Ada becomes very interested in the mystery of Penny.  No one at Lake Union is talking, even though memories are hovering over them like ghosts.  She discovers an unlocked chest filled with relics and memorabilia related to Penny. Ada meets a neighbor, Alex, a previous war photographer, but now specializing in food photos. He is a divorced man with a daughter, but what has he endured? Ada is afraid of a relationship with Alex. She certainly can't betray her husband's memory or the love they shared. And the story unfolds ---

Was foul play involved in Penny's disappearance? Will Seattle be the perfect place for Ada to mend her broken heart and consuming pain? 

All of the characters are vibrantly drawn, with many startling revelations revealed throughout. The book is beautifully written and cleverly blends together two different time periods. There are strong themes of tragedy with grief, lies, deceit, and love - a story laced with secrets.  I absolutely loved the epilogue which was perfect for a satisfying conclusion - just beautiful!

A brilliant, poignant, and heart-wrenching story that spins a tale of twisting emotions - a story you don't want to miss. This is definitely a 5 star novel!


The Author - Sarah Jio
Sarah Jio is the New York Times bestselling author of THE LAST CAMELLIA, BLACKBERRY WINTER, THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011), THE BUNGALOW, and the forthcoming, MORNING GLORY (11/26/13), all from Penguin/Plume. Sarah is also the former health and fitness blogger for Glamour.com. She has written thousands of articles for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, and many others. She has appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition. Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband and their three young boys. 
Sarah Jio