Book Review: The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Title: The Bungalow
Author: Sarah Jio
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Plume
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: “Hello?”

Anne Calloway is newly engaged to a man who can give her the lifestyle she grew up enjoying, a man of whom her parents whole-heartedly approve. Something is missing, though, and Anne postpones the wedding to join the Army Nurse Corps. On the island of Bora-Bora, Anne nurses the men who are giving their all for the United States. She meets Westry Green, a soldier who makes her understand what was missing in her relationship with her fiance back home. They discover an abandoned bungalow, a place where can be alone together, away from the horrors of the world around them. Real life invades when the couple witnesses a gruesome murder – a murder which will tear them apart. Seventy years later, Anne relives her time on the island, her love of Westry, and returns to the island, determined to seek justice and, hopefully, find out what happened to the love of her life.

Like her first book, The Violets of March, Sara Jio has written a novel with two storylines – one in the present time, and one rooted solidly in the events of the past. And, like The Violets of March, I was thoroughly engrossed in both stories.

Most of The Bungalow takes place during World War II, on a beautiful island in the South Pacific. I know that in reality, the bugs and humidity would kill me, but Sarah’s beautiful descriptions of the lush foliage, vibrant colors, and gorgeous landscape had me dreaming of sailing away to a tropical island. Of course, it would help to be there with a kind, sexy soldier like Westry Green. πŸ˜‰

The love story in The Bungalow is bittersweet, because from the very beginning of the book, you know that Anne and Westry don’t end up together. The question “why?” is one of the things that kept me reading – what could possibly have kept these two people apart, two people so obviously meant to be together? As the story unfolded, I found myself angry and grieved for the star-crossed couple.

The Bungalow will be released on December 27th, unfortunately too late to give as a Christmas gift for any lovers of historical fiction in your life, but not too late to give as a gift to yourself. Having thoroughly enjoyed Sarah’s first two books, I am excited to see what she comes up with next.

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9 Responses to Book Review: The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

  1. irene says:

    Thank you for your review, I too enjoyed Violets in March, we could put this on our Valentine List. If we could wait that long.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread
    says:

    Gah! I remember seeing the book trailer for this and freaking out, wanting to read it. I’m still having that reaction. I’m not a huge fan of romance but the setting is what attracts me.

  3. bermudaonion (Kathy)
    Twitter: bermudaonion
    says:

    I love it when two stories are woven together like that. This book sounds wonderful to me.

  4. Marg
    Twitter: MargReads
    says:

    I am hoping to read this in the next couple of weeks. I haven’t read Jio’s writing before but I am 95% certain that I am going to love her writing.

  5. Pingback: Happy Valentine’s Day: Favorite literary couples from my 2011 reading | BOOKS AND MOVIES