The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

The house lights were dark. Could he have already gone? I gasped at the thought. Our timing had always been dreadful, so why did I expect anything different on this night? Still, the pain surged out of my heart like an electric shock. I turned back to the trail, and I would have raced up the embankment to my car had it not been for the glimmer of light purple petals underfoot. I shook my head. Wood violets? I hadn’t seen them since I was a girl, when they appeared one summer in my grandmother’s garden. I’d never noticed them on Elliot’s property. What were they doing here?

Many on the island, me included, believed that these flowers had mystical powers, that they could heal wounds of the heart and the body, mend rifts in friendships, even bring about good fortune. I knelt down and ran my hand along the carpet of dusty purple nestled into pale green leaves.

When author Sarah Jio sent me this novel, I knew it would be the perfect read for one of my book clubs. Sure enough, they were immediately excited about it once they heard that it is a “mix (of) a love story, history, and a mystery” as Jodi Picoult raved.

The Violets of March was exactly the book I needed to get me out of a reading slump I’ve endured since Spring Break ended several weeks ago. It holds an intricate blend of characters and plot, which is seamlessly interwoven into a multi-layered tale of redemption and healing. I was unable to guess the outcome up to the very last pages, and it is a rare novel which is able to lead me down a path unaware of my final destination.

But, as I closed the cover last night it was with a great sense of satisfaction. I could sleep easily knowing that our heroine had made all the discoveries about herself and the past which she needed in order to guide her decisions for the future. She will not repeat the same mistakes her so similar grandmother did before her. She will, I believe, benefit from the wood violets of Bainbridge Island, the words of Esther’s faded red velvet journal, and the love of those with whom she’s now surrounded.