Monday, June 10, 2013

Julie's Review: The Last Camellia

Summary: On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes. More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couples shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardeners notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

Review: Ms. Jio has quickly become one of my favorite authors in a short period of time. I can devour her novels in a couple of sittings. The Last Camellia is no exception. I tore through the book. The difference was this time I wanted to know more about the stories than the characters. For me, the characters were secondary ot the mystery of the Camellia. The characters were interchangeable for me.

I found the idea of flower thieves fascinating and it did help move the story along. Both Flora and Addison are interesting characters but not ones that will stay with you long after the story. Addison's story was the one I was most curious about throughout the novel.  I had part of the mystery figured out by the middle of the novel and still enjoyed the reveal when the characters figured it out as well. Ms. Jio always handles the split timeline extremely well and she does the same in The Last Camellia.

I also loved Livingston Manor and its majestic orchards. Ms. Jio made the house and setting jump off the pages.

I'm looking forward to her next book, Morning Glory, which comes out in the fall. For Sarah Jio fans, you will want to read The Last Camellia and for those of you who haven't discovered her yet, it's a good place to start.

Final Take: 4/5



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