Thursday, November 21, 2013

Review: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Every now and again a book comes along that is just what the doctor ordered. For me that book is Morning Glory by Sarah Jio.Morning Glory is inspiring, uplifting, and heartening. 

Ada Santorini leaves behind her career as the editor for Sunrisemagazine and her home in New York to escape from that life. She's still in a constant state of mourning after losing her family in an accident. Her psychiatrist offers to help in this escape by telling her of a houseboat in Washington that is for rent. Ada jumps at the opportunity. The quiet is a welcome reprieve for Ada who's guilt and depression are suffocating her, rendering her incapable of living her life. 

A trip to the local market sparks a new interest encouraging Ada to stay busy. Misery works best when the mind is at rest. Ada learns of a woman who has gone missing during the 50s. A twist of irony makes it so that same missing woman once lived in the houseboat Ada now occupies. 

Morning Glory alternates between Ada and Penny Wentworth's story. Penny is the woman who went missing from Boat Street in the 50s. Penny, a beautiful young wife of a popular artist, wishes to escape the life she has as well. What she thought would be a perfect love story ending with roses and butterflies turns out to be anything but. Often left alone, feeling empty, and without purpose, Penny begins to find life is not going the way she hoped it would. 

Sarah Jio makes both Ada and Penny come to life on the pages of this novel. Although they are both in dire need to escape for different reasons, their quests are still the same. To be happy. To have hope. To live again. They both feel like imposters in the lives they had at one point and are anxious to get to a place of happy. Sometimes that happy can come in the form of a dashing man, spirituality, or in the blossoming of morning glory flowers. 

There's a lot of tension surrounding Penny's story and I loved that. Jio expertly fuses a suspenseful mystery in a genre that's usually the sum of its parts that cause the water works. Yes there is a bit of romance and cause to say "awe", there's also moments of tension that an avid mystery reader like myself did not see coming. 

Although I really enjoyed this novel and consumed it in just a few hours, I did find one huge flaw with it. The epilogue! It was so unnecessary. It actually made me not like a character I was most interested in for much of the novel. The epilogue should be taken away and banished to another boating community. 

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio is definitely a refreshing read and I can't wait to read more by this author. One other thing I didn't note in the review is that it has a couple of recipes in it. I thought that was an awesome touch for all the foodies out there. I'd recommend this novel to lover's of women's literature, romance, and mystery. I'm left thinking I want to be like morning glory and shine no matter what. ****

Copy provided by Netgalley

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