The Violets of March by Sarah Jio is a beautifully told novel of family, forgiveness, and second chances.
Emily Wilson thought she had it all. A blockbThe Violets of March by Sarah Jio is a beautifully told novel of family, forgiveness, and second chances.
Emily Wilson thought she had it all. A blockbuster career as a writer, a handsome, successful husband, a life plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. But, ten years later, Emily is reeling from the fallout of divorce and perpetual writers’ block. So, when her aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March with her on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily quickly accepts on the notion that she will spend time researching her next book.
And walks straight into a mystery.
Bainbridge Island holds many secrets. When Emily discovers a diary written in 1943 by a woman named Esther Littleton, she is intrigued. Written as a “story within a story”, the reader is taken along with Emily as she tries to uncover the secrets of the diary and its relevance to her own life. Diary entries are included in the text so the reader gets a feel for Esther’s life; her troubles and heartaches; her longings and desires; and her anger and frustrations. What Emily doesn’t realize is how this red, velvet diary will change the course of her life in innumerable ways.
I really loved the telling of this story. It moves quickly and fluidly, without any odd interruptions or shifts in narrative, as might be expected with this type of book. I found myself trying to piece together the mystery in many different ways, but I ended up not being quite right in my assumptions, which is awesome! Who wants to read a book that you can figure out that easily? Great characters, dynamite mystery, beautiful setting. This is an all-around fabulous book! Plus, I love a good historical mystery with my contemporary tale, so this book is definitely high on my list of must-reads for 2011....more
"7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and"7 is the true story of how Jen (along with her husband and her children to varying degrees) took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence." (Amazon.com)
This description may invoke various responses in you - and I'd like to suggest that it should. This book is the story of the Hatmaker family - Jen, her husband, Brandon, and their three children to various degrees, going on a 7 month long fast in 7 different areas of their life - Food, Clothes, Spending, Media, Possessions, Waste, and Stress. A book that may initially seem very preachy and over-the-top ended up being nothing of the sort. Jen is honest and hysterically funny in telling of her family's struggles with each month's fast from each identified area. When they make a mistake, she admits it. They are human just like the rest of us. This book isn't about looking down on the rest of us and telling us what we all should be doing. It's about taking a hard look at our lives and asking ourselves the important questions - are we actually living the Christian lives that we claim to be living?
In each chapter, Jen offers statistics and facts about the area her family is working on (i.e. food, consumerism). I found some of these passages to be a bit tedious and slowed down my reading of the book. It could just be that I'm not that into statistics. But they did make me think, which was probably the point (um..yeah!). Overall, there was much, much more good stuff in this book than not and I found myself saying "Yes! Yes!" and making notes in my e-reader often. Jen will make you think. And rethink. And want to begin making immediate changes in your own life and community.
If any book can do that, it's a worthwhile read. I'd even suggest, it's a must read. ...more