Friday, May 31, 2013

review: the last camellia by sarah jio

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At the center of the magnificently written The Last Camellia is the exquisite Middlebury Pink, which was the target of flower thieves in 1940. The ringleader of the flower thieves essentially blackmails a young American into taking a nanny job at the estate where the flower is thought to be. Flora comes to love the children, which means her decision to leave the manor comes too late.

In the alternating storyline (taking place in 2000), Addison is keeping a big secret from her husband, whose parents have purchased Livingston Manor in England. To escape the past that recently caught up with her, Addison and her husband fly to England where Addison discovers the old estate holds many secrets.

Sarah Jio’s books (her debut in particular) are masterful. I loved how she wove the two stories together so the alternating chapters often had parallel events. Normally a character like Addison would drive me crazy with her secret-keeping and assumption-making, but Jio wrote it so that I was so enamored I didn’t even notice Addison’s defects. The characters made me care so much that even when I knew I should stop reading, I kept going to find out what Flora and Addison would experience next.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Plume.

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