Danielle's Reviews > The Bungalow

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
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's review
Dec 28, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: to-read, 2011-favorites, chicklit, for-review, ebook, favorites
Read in December, 2011

Taking a leap in the midst of a tragic world war was the last thing Anne Calloway had ever imagined doing, but before she knows it she’s doing exactly that. Following along on the coat tails of her best friend Kitty she enlists as a nurse in the second world war only a month before her wedding. Determined to come back to her fiance Anne is stalwart in her love for Gerard until she meets Westry, a soldier serving on base in Bora-Bora. As suddenly finds herself falling in love with Westry she also finds things in Bora-Bora may not be as straight forward in war as she thought. What happens after is something that will take years to unravel and that only an enduring love could survive.

Oh my, Sarah Jio has done it again! I’ve been completely swept away to an island retreat with waves crashing, hearts soaring and mysteries brewing. To be completely honest, in many ways I was utterly terrified of reading The Bungalow. You know how it is, you treasure the first book by an author and also happen to adore the author as a good friend but wonder if the second novel will be as amazing as the first? It’s a tough situation, but I had absolutely nothing to be worried about. Nothing. The Bungalow may have even surpassed my love for Sarah’s first novel, The Violets of March, but they’re so different I’m not sure I can even compare them.

One of the things I most feared while reading The Bungalow was the setting. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m not a huge historical fiction fan and especially not a fan of “war” stories. It’s often that it hits too close to home with grandparents having been there and suffered through much of that time. Again though, I had no need to fear. Sarah Jio writes about the time period effortlessly with a finesse that doesn’t fully romanticize the situation but also doesn’t paint a grim picture of death and dying. You’re able to see the reality of war, the waiting and the fear without feeling as though that was the focus of the story. Instead the story became about Anne, her love for Westry, the love she left behind, her friends and the impact on the people native to the island they inhabited. It was gorgeous!

What stands out in both of Sarah Jio’s novels are her characters and the relationships they all have. They’re about love and the power that love has to forgive. In The Bungalow Anne Calloway leaves her fiance, a love she’s had since childhood to “test the waters” and find herself while helping others as a nurse in World War II. Her decision is instigated by her friend Kitty’s decision to go. Kitty was an impulsive best friend, a constant flirt, not much like Anne at all and it proves to be her detriment in many ways. Their relationship during war was filled with strife, but at it’s core was love and friendship and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how it played out.

Of course my favorite part of the story was the quiet romance between Westry and Anne. As someone who has spent years away from the one she loved, I could completely connect with Anne on many levels. Not only her difficultly leaving Gerard, but also leaving Westry after they’d fallen in love. It’s difficult to leave to find out who you are, but what happens with Anne is a coming of age story that spans the centuries. I loved how in many ways Sarah was able to write a love story without there being a loser, but I’m not going to say more than that!

Sarah Jio’s sophomore novel, The Bungalow, is a stunning and gripping story about love and forgiveness. Readers of The Violets of March will quickly fall in love all over again with Sarah’s writing and a brand new cast of marvelous characters & a gorgeous setting. Anne Calloway is a character women everywhere will relate to as you follow her heart along a journey that will transform as you turn the pages. Fall in love with Westry and Anne as well as the breathtaking island of Bora-Bora in the midst of a troubling war as you become completely engrossed in the pages of The Bungalow.

Originally reviewed and copyrighted at my site, Chick Lit Reviews and News.
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