By Sarah Jio, Plume, $15.00, 296 pages

10Emily Wilson’s divorce left her devastated and emotionally numb. Unable to cope with the thought of resuming a normal life, she flees to Bainbridge Island and the home of her aunt Bee. There she stumbles upon a journal written over sixty years before that reveals secrets and questions about her own life and family. The more she learns, the more she has to confront her own past and – more frightening – her future.

The Violets of March is the first novel by author Sarah Jio and is a solid entry into the women’s literature genre. She creates an interesting premise with the main character’s present situation reflecting the historical one she reads about in the journal. She also nicely sets the atmosphere with the Bainbridge Island setting, which will be particularly enjoyable for readers in and familiar with the area. The plot, however, is very predictable and the secrets revealed in the journal are hardly surprising. In some novels, the characters are interesting enough to overcome plot issues but it doesn’t quite happen in this book. The pacing of the story is nice, though, and despite its flaws the book is still entertaining and would make a good summer or vacation read.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern