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2012 MaNiC'S WeeKLY ReaDS ...
A book a week ALL YEAR LONG!
Hi guys! I’m so excited to bring a new feature to MaNiC MoMMy – along with regular posts about writing, my family, gripes and the usual manic goings-on, I’ll also be featuring a great new book and author EVERY week with a chance for you to WIN that book!
I’m also extremely in awe that I’ve got half the year already scheduled filled with great books to share, and I’m very excited and thrilled that the first book of 2012 that I get to feature is Sarah Jio’s second novel, The Bungalow!
So … here goes! Knock that hangover outta your head and start reading ...
That’s the word that fell from my lips when I closed Sarah Jio’s latest book. It’s just magical.
And I’m going to be completely honest with this review, and tell you some surprising thoughts I had about it. For those of you who know me, you know I’m not a big reader of historical novels.
I just don’t get into them. For instance, I could bet my life that if someone told me, “Hey, you gotta pick up this book – it’s set 1942, right smack in the middle of World War II” I'd be like, "nope, I'm not going to read that." And they’d be like, “But it’s got soldiers in it, with uniforms.” I’d still be like, “I’m not too sure.”
You know why? Because I don’t read war stories. Never.
(Remind me to not be so closed-minded from now on!!)
But, I picked this one up because this is Sarah Jio’s book. And she wrote The Violets of March, which was a great book. And the cover of The Bungalow is stunning. Vibrant, and gorgeous. Which will definitely be a plus for people like me who may not be initially attracted to books with a war-like setting. Many will be drawn to the beautiful cover, then fall in love with the beautiful story.
And oh my gosh, this book sucks you in immediately. In fact, from the very first chapter, I emailed Sarah and I told her that it felt like I was reading a scene straight out of The Help, and I could totally see The Bungalow as a movie – in as few as the first 15 pages – it’s that colorful.
It’s amazing to me that such a young writer can capture the feeling of the 1940s like that. Jio’s voice is spot-on as a 21-year-old woman grappling with the decision to go overseas to serve as a nurse in the war, or to stay home and marry the man she is not sure she loves.
But, the main character, Anne Calloway, does go to Bora-Bora, with her best friend Kitty, to serve in the war as a nurse. What happens on the island, and in the bungalow with Westry, the young soldier Anne falls in love with, will unequivocally change her life forever.
That’s ALL I’m going to tell you about the story, except that there’s also a murder that will haunt Anne for 70 years, and a mysterious painting. Did I mention I was an art history minor and I LOVE any story that tosses in some art stuff. LOVE it.
I loved this book because in a way, it reminds me of Titanic, how the old woman begins telling the story and there’s the flashback of the story, and I was especially surprised that I was so drawn to a historical novel. This just proves to me that I can be more open to books of a different time! However, I knew this would be a good book to start out with since I was familiar with The Violets of March.
Here, taken from Sarah’s website, is the back of the book blurb:
A sweeping saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting… In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world–until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war. A timeless story of enduring passion, The bungalow chronicles Anne’s determination to discover the truth about the twin losses–of life and, and of love–that have haunted her for seventy years.
It is days later now, since I've finished the book, and I still find myself thinking of various scenes (especially one particular hot beach scene!). I can picture Westry and Anne on the big screen, and see them perfectly in color. I have a big feeling that this one will make it there. I truly hope it does. This book definitely belongs in the movies!
And YES! Thanks to Sarah, you can win a copy of The Bungalow!
Since it is the New Year, and since Anne in the story made choices that led her down a path she may have regretted, tell me what your plans are for the New Year so that you don’t have regrets in your own life!
Thank you Sarah for another amazing book, and for you MaNiC readers, Sarah will have ANOTHER book out in September 2012 called Blackberry Winter!
I’ll choose a winner (US or Canada only please!) most likely on Friday or Saturday each week, and when I choose YOU, I’ll always post a comment in the thread saying that the comments are now closed, so that’ll be your clue that you can no longer enter. I’ll post the winner’s name (make sure to leave an IDENTIFYING NAME – no ‘jen’ or ‘sue’ – make it UNIQUE!) at the top of the post after it’s been announced.
Then next week, and every week during the year, I’ll be featuring and giving away another book. If this takes off successfully, I may be giving away more than one book a week! (If I can manage it!)
Thanks readers, and Happy New Year! What a great way to start out the year!