Monday, July 11, 2011
Published April 2011 by Penguin Group
Source: the publisher
When Emily Wilson's husband left her for another woman, her friend, Annabelle, convinces the best-selling author that she needs to get away from New York. Just as Emily is contemplating where to go, she receives an invitation from her great-aunt Bee to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island, just off the coast from Seattle.
Nearly as soon as she arrives, Emily discovers three things: Greg, an old boyfriend from the days when Emily used to visit the island every summer; Jack, a neighbor who it's clear that Bee doesn't want Emily to have anything to do with; and a red velvet book tucked away in the bedside table of the room Emily is staying in, a room she has never been in before.
The book, dated 1943, is the story of ill-fated love between Elliot and Esther. The more Emily reads, the more involved in the book she becomes and the more convinced she becomes that the story might not be a work of fiction. Between trying to solve the mystery of the book, the mystery of her own family that Bee seems to be keeping from her, and her developing relationship with Jack, March turns out to be much more complicated that Emily could have imagined.
The beautiful cover of this book convinced me to give it a try and the rave reviews its been getting had me looking forward to The Violets of March. Claire Cook (Must Love Dogs) called this one "captivating" and Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt) called it "enchanting." When I finished the book, I found myself wondering "What did I miss?"
I liked a lot about the book: the premise of returning to a place you loved when you were younger to heal, uncovering family mysteries and learning more about yourself in doing so. I quite liked some of the characters: Bee and her live-long friend, Evelyn. But I also had a hard time with the idea that someone who is just getting over the breakup of her marriage would be instantly willing to date not one, but two men. And why in the world would Evelyn insist that Emily needed to read the book instead of telling her what she knew about Emily's family. It almost seemed cruel. The book within the book also didn't have enough of a different voice for me to believe it was written by a different person.
All of this makes it sound as if I really didn't care for the book which isn't the case. It was an enjoyable summer read. Just not the beautiful story I was hoping for. Sometimes I think it might to read books that you've never heard a thing about before!