The Violets of March, by Sarah Jio
Psssst. I have a secret. When you hear those words, especially with a lowered voice, it gets your attention. This novel is all about family secrets. The story holds added fascination with most of its action set on beautiful Bainbridge Island. Vivid writing brings the Island to life, as if it’s another character in the novel. Sarah Jio lives in Seattle with her family, and enticingly writes about our area. You’ll enjoy her richly descriptive passages about Bainbridge, Seattle, and the surroundings.
The protagonist, Emily, is living in New York and has become weary of a personal life that is unraveling. She yearns for respite and thinks of carefree feelings about her childhood summer visits to a beloved aunt on Bainbridge Island. Despite years of distance, Emily contacts her aunt and then heads west.
Emily’s family is aging. Carrying a burdensome secret has taken its toll on some, and has also left friends wishing to be free of their hidden feelings. Secret whispers, and the curious discovery of a very old diary starts Emily on a trail to discover the truth about her family. Through her reading of this diary, two women from different eras who haven’t met are brought together in a sympathetic bond. Emily is a frankly honest character who is compelled to compassionately understand generations before her.
Trekking around the Island, Emily discovers wood violets. She’s told that these tiny lavender-colored flowers, with dark purple centers are very rare. They hadn’t been seen on the Island in many years, not since a very eventful year for Emily’s family. She is told that you can’t plant these pretty flowers, they have to choose you. They grow where they’re needed, signaling healing, redemption, forgiveness, and hope. It’s a timely finding while old family secrets are quietly revealed, and while Emily seeks solace from her New York life. Can there be hope when moving forward from a dark past? As gentle plot twists are revealed, resolution of this mystery is unpredictable. You’ll want to read on to the very end.
Sarah Jio is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling and award-winning international author. She came to fiction writing after a career writing for women’s magazines. You may see her in person in Seattle; she is active in King County literacy programs. Her recently-completed seventh novel for Penguin books will be available soon. Her love of the Seattle area shines through in her writing. In an interview she noted, “My heart is here and will always be. I naturally gravitate to setting my stories in the Northwest.” Her writing is an entertaining blend of romance, mystery and history.
Thereby hangs a tale . . . .
– By Wendy Kendall
Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.