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review 2017-07-21 23:12
Book Review: The Last Camellia
The Last Camellia - Sarah Jio

Book: The Last Camellia

 

Author: Sarah Jio

 

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical/Mystery

 

Summary: On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.

 

More than a half century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple's shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener's notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate? -Penguin Group, 2013.

 

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review 2014-03-26 19:23
The Last Camellia
The Last Camellia: A Novel - Sarah Jio

 

 

By Sarah Jio 

ISBN-13: 9780452298392

Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)

Publication date: 5/28/2013

Pages: 320

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

Sarah Jio, once again at her finest, in this thought-provoking drama, full of mystery and adventure within the pages of The Last Camellia.

 

I am slowly making my way through Jio’s book (this is my fifth, and look forward to reading the remainder on my “to read list”).

 

Each book includes a masterful talent of bridging the gap between past and present, for an ultimate thriller of suspense, history, and intrigue.

On the eve of the Second World War, in the 1940’s, Flora a lover of plants and flowers, travels to England, to assist with an international ring of flower thieves locate a rare camellia plant (Middlebury Pink),and poses as a nanny at the Livingston Manor where supposedly the camellia is hidden.

Jump ahead a century to NYC in the early 2000s, where Addison, a garden designer lives at the manor now owned by the family of her husband Rex, a writer. Hidden secrets resurface with two compelling story lines, as they parallel between two different women from murder, affairs, lies, and betrayals. 

Between the two stories of Flora and Addison, Addison’s story line seemed more intense; however enjoyed the cliffhanger and buildup of Flora’s character.

As usual, the historic aspect is always apparent and strong within Sarah’s novels, as slowly the past, and secrets of this old house begin unfolding, while the gardens, orchards, flowers, and camellias come to life.

If you love Kate Morton and Diane Chamberlain, as I do, you will love Sarah Jio as highly recommend. A complex story of mystery, secrets, regret, and redemption-- grabbing you from page one to the end.

I urge you to read Sarah’s newest release “Goodnight June”, coming 5/27/14, as received an advance reading copy ---sure to please her biggest fans and followers! 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/867942114
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review 2013-11-06 00:00
The Last Camellia: A Novel
The Last Camellia: A Novel - Sarah Jio An apparently innocuous English estate, home to the last of a much-prized variety of camellia, becomes the site of mystery, murder, and intrigue across the years. Right before the beginning of WWII, Flora is convinced by a ring of thieves to take a job as a nanny in order to locate the camellia. Falling in love complicates her plans substantially and puts her in great danger. Over fifty years later, Addison moves into the manor in an attempt to escape her past. Now both her past and that of the manor are catching up to her and if she doesn’t solve the mystery of what happened to Flora, she might be in grave danger as well.

The first thing I noticed about The Last Camellia was how little I noticed the writing. It was technically good, but it didn’t blow me away the way much of the women’s fiction I’ve read lately has (The Husband’s Secret, The Girl You Left Behind). It just introduced you to the plot and then stepped aside. I did get completely caught up in the plot though. There was a lot more suspense then I anticipated, largely because our two protagonists were in far more danger than I expected. For all of the excitement though, the reader learns about a lot of the action second hand, which made me feel less connected to the story.

Lately I’ve really been enjoying the dual narrative format and this book was no exception. I actually liked it even more than most because the two protagonists lived close enough in time to one another that they could arrive at the same location; meet the same people; and discover the same places. However, as the events of their story mirrored each other exactly throughout the story, the amount of similarity passed the bounds of believability. It pulled me out of the narrative quite a bit because the exact parallels between their stories felt so contrived that they reminded me this was just a story. I also found the ending very contrived, with the reader’s surprise at the ending relying on the characters also being surprised by things I cannot believe they wouldn’t know. So at the end of the day, this book was exciting and objectively well written, but I just couldn’t connect with it. Too many things were constantly reminding me that it was just a story.

This review first published on Doing Dewey.
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review 2013-10-03 00:00
The Last Camellia
The Last Camellia - Sarah Jio I am getting very tired of the 'split screen' writing genre with the plot divided down the middle into 2 halves. Effectively this makes this novel really 2 150 page novellas with each half just propelling each other along to fulfill the plot and deprive it of any motivation at all.
Sarah needs to break free of the botantical rut she is it.
The next book is "Morning Glory" - there are more important things in life to write about instead of rummaging in the botanic gardens for inspiration.
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review 2013-07-12 00:00
The Last Camellia - Sarah Jio I couldn't put this down! A romantic, suspenseful historical fiction multi-mystery cutting across two generations surround a stunning rare camellia. Highly recommended as a summer read ...

Read my full review over at my blog Guiltless Reading:
http://guiltlessreading.blogspot.ca/2013/07/the-last-camellia-by-sarah-jio-massive.html
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