Wednesday, April 10, 2013
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio (ARC Copy- Release Date May 28, 2013)
The modern day thread revolves around Addison, a successful garden designer, who, frightened by the ghosts from her past, escapes with her husband, to the English country estate his parents recently purchased. Once there, while trying to keep her own history a secret, she begins to try unraveling the mysteries of the manor, and just why locals think the place is trouble.
The tales were well told, though a little abrupt/choppy in places. I never particularly warmed to several of the main characters, and at least for Addison, wanted her to talk to her husband directly, to be honest. But then there might not have been a story. Ah well.
For a while we had a garden design business, plus living in Charleston, where Camellias are plentiful and adored, I was interested in some of the botanical and horticultural aspects. That one of the main characters was from Charleston was sort of fun, but the references to the city captured none of the flavor. In fact, one reference, (which may be gone in the final edition, since what I read was the ARC) jarred me enough that I lost the train of the story. But I slipped back into the worlds of Flora and Addision and walked with them as they tried to find truth, and keep clear heads and hearts.
I will keep my eyes open for more of Jio's work, for even though I wasn't entirely swept away by the novel, the journey I did take was pleasant, and has given me a bouquet of thoughts. And that's a good thing to come away with when reading.
Many thanks to LibraryThing Early Reviewer Program and the publisher for sending me this copy of the book.