New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959.
Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)
Like with Sarah Jio's other books, Morning Glory also has a Cold Case feel to it. I could see the detectives asking people questions and then having them flash back to 1959 while Frank Sinatra music is playing in the background and everyone is dressed like they're on the set of Mad Men. Up until I read this novel, Blackberry Winter held first place on my list of Sarah Jio favorites. Morning Glory has managed to nudge it into second place, even though I didn't cry like I was expecting to, given the subject matter. I feel like I was preparing for the build-up so that I could handle whatever came my way, as awful as the circumstances may be.
Sarah Jio once again does an excellent job of setting scenes with vivid descriptions that make the people and places easy to picture in my mind. While some parts of the story tied together a little too neatly, she still managed to toss in some surprises to keep me on my toes. I don't know how I'll be able to wait until the summer for her next novel, Goodnight June! (Notice the time of day shift here?)
And, of course, if I were to choose a movie cast (or people to feature on an episode of Cold Case, should it ever be revived), this is who I'd pick for some of the roles:
Ada: Eliza Dushku
Penny: Carey Mulligan
Alex: James McAvoy
Collin: Joseph Gordon Levitt
I must say straight off the bat that I am a huge Sarah Jio fan. The minute I read her debut, The Violets of March, I knew I was going to be a fan for life. I’ve been excited about Morning Glory since Sarah first started posting pictures of her houseboat on Facebook. I’m a huge water person (hey, I’m a Pisces) so I had a hunch that I was going to enjoy it. Well surprise, surprise…Sarah has hit it out of the park once again.
Sarah Jio is an amazing storyteller. She has an exceptional way of writing novels where there are two stories blended together; one being in the past and the other being the present. The present is where we meet Ada, and Penny’s story takes place in 1959. Both women have lived in the same houseboat, but years apart. I can imagine myself finding solace and tranquility from living on the water. I’m always in a state of bliss when I’m vacationing anywhere that’s near a body of water, preferably oceanfront.“The lake is glorious today, sparking and smooth as glass. The canoe glides through the water effortlessly, like a knife through water.” While I was reading this vivid description, it felt like I could actually see and feel the water.
As always Sarah develops and writes her characters with such eloquent description. I was able to feel Ada’s and Penny’s roller coaster of emotions throughout the story. I wanted to hug them when they were experiencing both sorrow and joy.
I can’t say how much I recommend this book. I’m not a mystery person, but Sarah’s blend of mystery and romance always grabs my heart and attention to the point where I just can’t put it down. Here’s an interview with Sarah when she was at Book Expo America (where I met her!!!!!!) discussing both Morning Glory and The Last Camellia, her book that came out in May.
Thanks to Plume for the book in exchange for an honest review. They also have FIVE copies of Morning Glory for some lucky US readers!
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