Although I read this “out of turn–” I’d read several of Jio’s novels before reading her debut novel, this was an amazing book. It had something for everyone: lovely description, fine characterization, a stunning twisty plot, mystery and romance.
Jio’s main character, Emily Wilson, author of a best selling novel, is dumped by her husband. Stunned with this turn of events, she decides to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington state, with her elderly aunt, supposedly seeking material for her next novel. This one, she promises herself will be “one from the heart” not a formulaic crowd pleaser like her bestseller. When she reaches her elderly aunt’s beach home, she discovers in the drawer of her bed-side table a red velvet diary from 1943, written by an unknown woman. From here on in, Jio develops a dual story line.
Emily, during her stay, meets two love interests, one of whom is related to the mysterious senior citizen, whom her aunt carefully avoids. How the trip to the island affects her, yet heals her is the basis for Emily’s story and makes this novel a darned good read.