What I'm Reading: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Summary from Goodreads:
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.

Ooo...scintillating, right? This book is a little different than the books that I've reviewed so far on the blog. It is an adult novel, with hints of romance, a little bit of mystery, and very real characters.

I will say that I picked up this book first because of the cover. It's very beautiful, and fits the story perfectly. Then I read the summary, and thought it would make a good read.

What I liked: The setting. I live in Texas, so any book that puts me on the coast where it's cooler than 108 degrees gets high marks in my book. Bainbridge Island is the kind of place I'd like to spend the summer. Or any time of year, really. Ms. Jio's descriptions are vivid and detailed and put me right there on the island. I think there were waves crashing outside my bedroom window. Again, in the middle of Texas. Bee and Evelyn. The friendship between these two ladies was comfortable and sweet, but what amazed me the most is that it's written in such a way that you can imagine their entire friendship, the decades of time they've spent together. Wow. Talent! What else...I really loved that there was two love stories playing out at the same time, and there are clear parallels between the two. Emily's desire to find the answers she's looking for regarding the diary. She has a little bit of sleuthing to do, and I enjoyed that journey.

What I didn't like: My chief complaint regarding this book is that I wanted more emotion. I felt connected to the characters yes, but I was hoping for the kind of emotion that just grabs you and leaves you breathless. Book love! More book love, please! I felt that the major players all had relatively tame emotions despite some tumultuous things happening around them. Then again, perhaps that just reflects the nature of island life, and that could be part of Sarah Jio's brilliance. I also didn't like Greg. Bleh...wet noodle.

Overall, I thought this book was a sweet and nicely written read. It may not leave you breathless, but it will keep you curious and leave you with a smile when you've finished.

My rating:

Cheers and Happy Reading!


  1. Sounds like a great summer read. I can't wait to read it!

  2. From your review it seems like the tone is similar to that of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. I have a friend who might love this book! Thanks for the review!

  3. This sounds like a pretty good read, thanks for the info! Adorable blog you have here, I love the concept :) followed!

  4. Hi all! @hot chocolate and a book - It was definitely fun! I found my copy at Target, so it'll be easy to locate! Hope you enjoy it too!

    @Olga - I haven't read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but I popped over to Goodreads and read the summary, and it does sound similar in style! I think I'll have to check that one out! I hope you suggest this one to your friend, and that they like it!

    @Steph - Thank you for stopping by! I'm following you too, and I love your art!!


  5. I'm all about character development. I find it hard to connect with a book if it's lacking.

  6. I've found really interesting books that in the end I couldn't say, "These are GREAT!" And that's usually because, while the plot was exciting and the writing good, I couldn't really relate to the characters. Thanks for the honest review.

  7. Great review! The book sounds like a good read and I'm with you, the cover is very beautiful!

  8. Liz - Agreed, 100%.

    CleeMcKenzie - Yep, I know what you mean. A lot of times it really just comes down to character development.

    Silvia - I think book covers are always the first thing that draw me to a book by an author I've never read before. Sadly, I suppose I really do judge a book by its cover...

  9. Yes! I wanted more emotion too. Plus I sorta wanted to slap little miss for jumping to conclusions and making everybody sad as a result. Grrr. Can you tell I had a love/hate relationship with this book?


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