Jan 11, 2012

The Bungalow

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

My rating: 5 stars

Quick overview (from Amazon): In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war. A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.

I've had this book's release date marked on my calendar for months. I loved Sarah's first novel, but I can only explain my feelings about reading this one as similar to a second date - excited, nervous, and wondering how it could possibly be better than the first.

The second date was incredible.

From the start, I was enchanted: "He was there, of course - in uniform, shyly smiling at me as the waves fell into the shore. I could hear them - their violent crash, followed by the fizz of a million bubbles kissing the sand."

(That's from the first page people!)

It took me awhile to process the story - I was enraged by the actions of some of the characters, and swooning at others. It takes a lot for me to really fall in love with a leading male character, but I fell head over heels for Westry. However, I couldn't figure out why I was angry at the end of this book. I liked the story, I connected with the characters, but I was in a bad mood for the rest of the day when I finished it!

The next day (after I woke up, still thinking about the story), I realized I was angry because it ended. The love the author created between these characters was so heart-warming and incredible I was angry I didn't get to experience more of it!

The love was almost tangible; I can still feel myself wrapped up in the relationship like a warm, cozy blanket. (And let me tell you, if Westry was real, Ben might have serious competition).

There were twists in the story I wasn't expecting - at the end there were things I was anticipating and I found myself almost holding my breath! I won't go into details (I don't want to give anything away), but I was engaged the whole time. This book was a quick read (I finished it in a day), but I was in the story the whole time, and the few times I had to put it down I felt weird because I missed it, and wanted to get back to it.

I originally gave the story four stars but realized I've been thinking about it so much it had to get five instead. I'm already thinking about re-reading it! 

Have you read The Bungalow or anything else by Sarah Jio? Are you as enamored with her writing as I am?

Happy hump day!

(Photo: Sarah Jio)


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I haven't read anything by Sarah Jio! Amber is going to mail me the first book she wrote, so soon I will read that. This one sounds good, too!!

Amber @ A Little Pink in the Cornfields said...

This sounds so good, and I have seen such good reviews for it! I can't wait to read it once I get my hands on it. :)

Amber said...

Haha Lisa's comment reminded me that I HAVE to get that book in the mail for Lisa ;) This week!

I LOVED Violet's so can't wait to read this one as well!

Stephany said...

I just read a book where I started feeling super sad as I kept reading, knowing these characters wouldn't be part of my everyday life anymore. I can totally relate.

I like the concept behind the book so I'll definitely check it out!

Stef said...

I LOVED Sarah's first book and I just started The Bungalow yesterday! So far I really like it. :)

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I've never even heard of this author so I'll have to give her a try- it sounds good!

Penelope Sanchez said...

An absolute definite recommend! I recall after I read Sarah's first book, The Violets of March, saying it was my favorite book. I think after reading The Bungalow I can say Sarah Jio is my favorite contemporary writer.


Riyanna Lopez said...

I loved the book because it read so smoothly...No backing up because you were lost for the moment. It was a wonderful love story while creating a great mystery. The relationships of the characters were understood and reminiscent of some of my own. Very entertaining and heartwarming. It is a wonderful story. BRAVO to Sarah Jio.

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