The Divining Wand

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Presenting Debutante Sarah Jio and
The Violets of March

April 25, 2011 By: larramiefg Category: Book Presentations, Books


Lovely, dreamy, calming, and hopeful are all words that best describe Debutante Sarah Jio’s first novel, The Violets of March, being released tomorrow, April 26, 2011.

Although a love story, the romance of the book is first found in a diary revealing a mystery of star-crossed lovers from 1943. Rather than time travel, the novel follows a time-bending exploration until the past and present convene to answer where the characters came from, who they are now, and what they will be. In fact those are similar questions that gave the author her idea for the book. Writing in the February 10, 2011 Debutante Ball post, Deb Sarah on the 1940’s Print That (Partially) Inspired Her Novel, she explained:

“I’d been mulling novel ideas for a while, but nothing had jumped out at me. My eyes darted around the room until they stopped at an iconic photograph my sister had hanging on her wall—the one of a sailor and his lady locked in a kiss after the second world war. Everyone’s seen this image, of course, and it certainly wasn’t anything new to me, and yet on that pre-Christmas afternoon, I let my mind consider what the real story might be behind the photo. Who was the sailor? The young woman? What was their story? And while my novel didn’t end up having anything to do with a sailor and his lover or their fated kiss, it did set my brain on an interesting trajectory of thinking about the 1940s, the war, interrupted love, second chances and more.”

One major part of the “more” was including the mystery/diary. It was simply where Sarah’s mind went with this story, though she admits: “I love books with a mysterious element, and I knew that to grab readers (and me, as I wrote) the book needed mystery to solve.”

And then the author added the final element of Bainbridge Island. It’s a special place for Sarah who grew up just a few miles away, over the bridge, in Poulsbo, Washington, and spent happy times on the shores of Bainbridge. Believing the island has a mystical, alluring quality, she knew it was the perfect setting for the novel.

And after watching this video you’ll likely agree.

(If the video doesn’t appear on your monitor, please view it here.)

Is the island beckoning, along with the praise?

Here’s a synopsis for The Violets of March:

A heartbroken woman stumbles upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author.

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily’s good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch.

Now for an Excerpt? Actually there is only a brief tease that can be found in The Debutante Ball’s February 17, 2011 post, Deb Sarah Shares a Love Letter from The Violets of March.

Sarah Jio’s natural talent is being able to infuse chemistry into her writing and her main character, Emily, is the most notable example. Although newly divorced, Emily is more shell-shocked than whiny and possesses enough common sense to realize that something has been missing in her life. In other words, though emotionally devastated, she comes across as an adult who knows healing must take place before moving forward. Also there’s not a “blame game” to wade through as Emily’s unfortunate circumstances rally her to leave the past behind by growing and challenging herself in new ways.

However the irony is that to leave her past behind Emily feels compelled to delve into the lives of those found within the diary’s pages. Were they real or fiction? If real, what happened to them? And are they connected to Emily and her family?

Readers are once again reminded of how much of the present is shaped by the past and how resolving such issues comes through reconciliation. Sarah further explains:

“Without giving away too much of the story, I, myself, am really fascinated with the concept of reconciliation. So many of us have people—friends, family, co-workers from the past—who we need to reconcile with to move forward and to bring peace to our lives. And I used the humble wood violets in the story as a symbol of reconciliation and redemption.”

Indeed, when the Bainbridge Island violets bloom out of season, their mystical presence is meant to heal. That is their power and that is the beauty this debut author captures in her tale. With only words, Sarah transports readers to this island of the past and the present that offers compelling hope for the future. Why? Because of the book’s message: Love is timeless.

Redbook magazine declares Violets “engrossing” and chooses as a must-read in their May issue!

This literary Fairy Godmother declares: I am not a true love story fan/reader, nor do I often cry. But Sarah Jio casts a spell in her novel (the only explanation) and The Violets of March not only captured my heart, I cried….for joy.

Now listen to the island calling you.

* * * * *

Book Giveaway: The Divining Wand is giving away two copies of The Violets of March by Sarah Jio in a random drawing of comments left only on this specific post. Comments left on other posts during the week will not be eligible. The deadline is Wednesday, April 27, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. EDT with the winners to be announced here in Thursday’s post. If you enter, please return Thursday to see if you’re a winner.

16 Comments to “
Presenting Debutante Sarah Jio and
The Violets of March


  1. Would LOVE to win this — it sounds fabulous! But of course, if I don’t, I’m sure I’ll pick it up somewhere. 🙂

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  2. This book is now on my to read list! Would love to win a copy.

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  3. Colleen Turner says:

    I cannot wait to read this book! I heard about it on Goodreads a few months ago and it has been on my wishlist since then :). I will be buying it anyways but would LOVE to win a copy!
    Thanks!

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  4. Jane Cook says:

    I’m so looking forward to reading this book. I love this area of WA, having visited it when I stayed with my aunt & uncle in Port Ludlow.

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  5. I’m looking forward to reading this debut novel and I would love to win a copy!

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  6. Mary Quackenbush says:

    The cover of this book is beautiful, and the story sounds terrific. I’m definitely putting my name in the hat for this one! Fingers crossed!

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  7. Gayle LIn says:

    I can hardly wait to read this book. I read all I can by authors with Asian backgrounds because my in-laws are Asian. Winning would be icing on the cake.

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  8. i have read many favourable reviews…please count me in…thanks 🙂

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  9. I love your positive review of this book and especially your personal, happy, reaction to the book!

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  10. Mysteries do attract and grab readers attention like me. I love a little of mystery and this element can be engrossing which lead to feel a little bit of suspense and to read it faster! Thanks for a chance to win a copy!

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  11. I have been waiting for to come out!!! yeah its on my to buy list.

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  12. So many great elements in this! A magical island and a mysterious diary sounds fabulous.

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  13. ArtsyBookishGal says:

    I’ve been to Bainbridge Island and loved it! I would love to read a book that takes place in this setting, plus this one sounds AMAZING! Thank you for the chance to win this amazing book.

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  14. “Lovely, dreamy, calming, and hopeful”…thank you for an opportunity to win a copy of what appears to be my kind of book!

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  15. Jennifer Downing says:

    It sounds like a beautiful story! Thank you for the oppertunity to win it!

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  16. This sounds right up my alley!!!

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