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The Violets of March Paperback – 26 Apr 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Plume Books (26 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452297036
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452297036
  • Product Dimensions: 13.7 x 1.7 x 20.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 512,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Liana on 29 Sept. 2011
Format: Paperback
After having written for several magazine publications for the past several years, author Sarah Jio decided to take a shot at writing. Her debut is the beautifully-written 'Violets of March' which is a love story, a mystery, and above all else, extremely involving.

'March' is the telling of a story within a story. This type of yarn can be particularly hard to spin because of the detail that goes into both and how you have to keep them separate and, at the same time, weave them together so that they share a common thread. Most importantly of all is that both tales remain interesting.

The first story is set in present day with Emily Wilson, a divorceé who decides to leave her home in New York City for the smaller setting of Bainbridge Island, both to get her personal affairs in order and take a breather, as well as to acquire inspiration for her new novel. She stays with her aunt, who goes by the name of Bee, and meets many interesting people on the island including a long-lost love whom she never thought she'd see again.

One evening while staying with her aunt, Emily finds a diary in a drawer in her room. She isn't sure at first, and neither is the reader, if the story contained within its pages is fact or fiction.

This introduces us to the story within the story, taking place on Bainbridge Island in the 1940s. It is a harrowing story of love which entangles many lives together and tearing others apart. The star of this heart-wrenching tale is a woman named Esther, a woman who is married and has a child yet is in love with another man. To complicate things even further, both Esther and her friend share the same attraction, although this doesn't become apparent to both of them until later.
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By Vera on 25 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this tedious and was very disappointed as it had been recommended. The story line was not dealt with with verve.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nina on 13 May 2012
Format: Paperback
This book had a lovely title and cover. I hoped for an unputdownable read. I was wrong. It starts off with a separation - she leaves her marriage and goes across the country to the island. But then the marriage is barely referenced again, until the end. So how can I care what happens when I am given so little information? The story of the past and what she discovers was vaguely readable but then the end was plain ridiculous. The twist to the story relied on the characters all having gone by different names in their later life to the ones they were known by for the bulk of their lives! What a contrived plot, and completely implausible. I won't be reading more of this writer and I'm sorry I bought the book rather than got it from library.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 539 reviews
217 of 240 people found the following review helpful
Such a charming read! 27 April 2011
By Heather ORoark - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Violets of March is the type of book that had me at hello. Truly, I was about twenty pages in when I realized how much I enjoyed Emily and I gobbled up her story as quickly as I possibly could. There are so many things to love about this novel that I don't know where to start!

I truly enjoyed Emily as a character. I really felt for her - she was completely surprised by her husband's actions and she had to do something drastic with her life in order to get some perspective. I liked all the characters in the book, actually - Aunt Bee is a fabulously fun older lady as is her friend Evelyn, and Emily meets two guys her first week at the island, both of whom add fabulous details to the story. I always like a little romance in my fiction, you know! Emily is truly the star of the novel as she tries to put her life back together while spending time on the island, but I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of the characters.

The island itself is a character in a sense. Sarah Jio did such a great job depicting what life on Bainbridge Island is like - I could smell the salty air, could see the ferry as it pulled in to the island, and I could feel the sand between my toes as Emily walked along the beach. When I visited Seattle several years back I absolutely fell in love with it, and Sarah Jio has made me want to visit some of the surrounding islands. She definitely brought Bainbridge Island to life.

I have to admit that I enjoyed reading the story in the red diary almost as much as the book itself! This technique of a "story within a story" is one that I'm not always a fan of, but in this case it worked beautifully. I was just as compelled with Esther's story (the woman in the diary) as I was with Emily's, if not more so! I was completely anxious to find out the connections between their lives and I was just as sucked into Esther's life as Emily was.

Overall, I enjoyed The Violets of March immensely. I loved the characters, the setting, the story itself, basically everything! Highly recommended.
100 of 112 people found the following review helpful
Perfect Escape 19 May 2011
By Utah Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
During all the craziness last week, The Violets of March by Sarah Jio was my escape. Instead of laying in the hotel bed worrying about all the mess and stress, I just opened the pages of this book and lost myself in the story.

I must admit that I went to great lengths to get a copy of this book. For some reason when I read an early review and heard that it would be released in May, I just knew I wanted to read it. Perhaps it was because my dear, dear college friend grew up on Bainbridge Island, WA and the island is the setting for this story. Or maybe I was just drawn in by the promise of a buried secret discovered in a long-forgotten diary. I'm a sucker for those kinds of stories.

Emily, the protagonist, is a gorgeous and best-selling author who is suffering from writer's block and her husband just left her for another woman. Hoping to heal, she escapes to her great aunt's home on Bainbridge Island. On this beautiful island, Emily discovers the old diary containing a mystery that inspires her to write. And of course, she just might find love again. Ultimately, it is a story of forgiveness.

There's nothing especially new or earth shattering in The Violets of March. It's a typical healing-from-life story with some romance and ancestral mystery on the side. It could have been a little longer. The story would have benefited from more character development. But also, I didn't want it to end because I liked it. I like it a lot.

Jio writes well. It is easy to get wrapped up in Emily's story and the story in the journal. I could barely put the book down until I finished the last sentence. Jio uses the setting to her advantage in building the plot. While Emily's story is rather predictable, Jio is successful at writing enough twists and turns into the story contained in the diary to keep the reader guessing until the end.

The Violets of March is a perfect book for the beach (in spite of the cold and wet, I believe summer is coming), to read on an airplane or at the hotel while you're house is being cleaned up after a flood. If you're going on a trip, grab a copy and throw it in your suitcase. You won't regret it.

Maybe I can talk my college friend into taking a trip with me to Bainbridge Island this summer. I'll just make her read this book. It will probably be more difficult/impossible to convince my husband.

After some mild begging, I received a free copy of this book from the publishers. However, this is my honest review and I have received no compensation.
63 of 70 people found the following review helpful
Lush, descriptive novel 26 April 2011
By Camille Noe Pagán - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Violets of March is the kind of book that you could share with your best friend, mother or grandmother and know that they'd all love it. Set on scenic Bainbridge Island, Violets is a love story within a mystery and has a whole cast of characters who are flawed enough to be human but so compelling that you'll root for them throughout the book. Jio excels at description; although I've never been to Bainbridge Island, I felt like I was right there with her protagonist, Emily. This was a gorgeous story, and I didn't want it to end.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Lacks imagination 2 Mar. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I finished this book only out of loyalty to my book club. The plot is intriguing, and the setting is beautiful. But the characters are completely bland, and their relationships are superficial. This is a love story that's just going through the motions - love, loss, then finally "true" love. The love portrayed is more like a mutual crush - instant and powerful but with none of the honesty and experience that actually creates a loving relationship.

The book intertwines two love stories set on Bainbridge Island - one present day and one from the 1940s. I wish the book had dropped the main story and focused on the love story from the 40s. The characters from that story were more diverse and brave. And the intensity of their relationships was a little more believable, but perhaps this was only because their story was the mystery pulling the reader along. If that story had been developed more, maybe it would have turned into the same bland cliché as the main character's journey.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Entertaining but shallow story 5 Jan. 2012
By S. Evans - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I want to start off by saying that I liked this book, but even though I finished it, I wasn't in love with it. I wasn't sad to see it end by any means. I would recommend it to friends, but I'd probably suggest getting it from the library, buying a used copy, or borrowing it from a friend. It is not something that I would have been happy spending full price.

My problem is that I never felt invested in the characters or believed in them. The characters, especially the narrator Emily, are 2D and not very believable. Their actions are very cliched (recovering from a supposedly painful and gut wrenching divorce and finding love again within 2 - 3 weeks). The relationships in the book all seem to be formed instantly and do not feel genuine. I don't expect the characters in books to be exactly like people I know or to have experiences that I am familiar with, but I expect them to be believable. The characters and story in this book were not.

Despite not reall being connected to the characters in the book, I was entertained enough to finish it.
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