Book Review: Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

Morning Glory by Sarah Jio

  • Method of Obtaining: My copy was provided by the publisher.
  • Published by:  Plume
  • Release Date:  11.26.2013

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959

Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.

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My Review:

Morning Glory is my first novel by Sarah Jio in spite of having some of her previous books (The Violets of March and The Last Camellia) on my to-be-read list for quite some time.  Name recognition is a big pull for me, so when I picked up Morning Glory I made it a priority – I had to read something by Jio and this is where I would be starting.  The end result is enough pleasure that I am bumping up her other books and looking forward to reading them.  Still, Morning Glory was not quite perfect and in this review I’ll be discussing a few of the things I had a bit of an issue with (although, mind you, it wasn’t enough of an issue for this to be a negative review!)

One of the things I loved about Morning Glory was the sense of history that came attached to the story.  It started with page 1 and just wove its way throughout Penny and Ada’s respective stories.  Tie those stories in to one of the best settings (think Sleepless in Seattle and houseboats) and you have a heck of a story.  It’s not often when there is a split narrative (moving from the present to the past) that I get thoroughly engrossed in both stories, but that definitely happened during my time reading Morning Glory and I anxiously hurdled on to the end of the book, wanting to wrap everything up with a neat, tidy bow.

And everything did get wrapped up – but this is where my bit of a complaint comes in.  I’m so tired of contrived “coincidences.”  You know, those surprise twists that make it so that this person meets that person who was connected to them in this way and they all live happily ever after.  It’s unrealistic and detracts from the story for me and, unfortunately, instead of leaving a good ending where it was Jio chose to take that extra step.  It immediately left a bad taste in my mouth and, instead of feeling satisfied as I put the book down, I rolled my eyes and sighed.

So, if you take out the bit of the ending that caused me to feel as if I’d just read a juvenile piece of fiction, the rest of the book was fantastic.  The mystery was interesting and kept me going, the struggles of both women were ones that I could relate to (and possibly shed a few tears over), and the writing was cozy and immersive, making When we dress in a way that has even the potential to cause a man to lust, we create an unnecessary war against his soul. one of those books that you should probably pick up over your Christmas break for some feel good reads.

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