Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review: "Violets of March"

When I first read Modern Mrs. Darcy's post about synchro-reading, I immediately thought of my dear friend Leah.

In addition to reading, line dancing is another love Leah and I share!
(Leah is third in line, and I am fourth.)

Leah's visit to Atlanta

Synchro-reading is essentially an online book club, where you read and discuss a book together even though you're far apart. With me living in Atlanta and Leah in Louisville, I knew it'd be a perfect solution for our mutual love of books.

The first book we chose for synchro-reading (I'm sure they'll be many more to follow!) was Violets of March by Sarah Jio. As Leah summed up, "It is the story of Emily, a woman struggling to overcome a broken heart by visiting her beloved aunt at her favorite childhood vacation spot. Mystery swirls around Emily and her great-aunt Bee, a longtime resident of Bainbridge Island in the beautiful Pacific northwest."

Before we started, our plan was to read 10 chapters the first week then discuss, and finish the last 10 the following week and discuss. The plot ended up being so engaging that we flew through the book instead - though we did pause and reflect halfway through and then at the end.

For our first synchro-reading experience, we just emailed each other our thoughts on the characters, plot, scenery, and whatever else came to mind. Since we both are book nerds, we dove into the symbolism too - with Leah even researching the Greek and Roman mythology behind violets.

Overall, I loved the chance to read a book with a friend, and emailing our notes provided a lot of flexibility. I would highly recommend synchro-reading with anyone who enjoys reading... which brings me to my high recommendation of reading "Violets of March" too!

You can check out Leah's review of the book here. Since she provided such a good summary of our thoughts, I'll just give you an overview:

  • Plot: A+ in my book. The storyline was so compelling that I flew through the book and didn't want to put it down. It's a mystery with family history and romance all tied into one. Though we were both able to "solve" some of the mysteries, there were several surprises at the end, while still being very believable. It definitely would have been a perfect beach read! And I can see it being made into a movie too, like "Sarah's Key."
  • Characters: During the first half of the book, Leah and I were disappointed with the character development. I really enjoy books that get inside the character's minds and show transformations. Instead, this is more of a plot-driven book (hence, a good beach book). However, toward the end you start to see some changes and developments, which brought the book to a close nicely.
  • Scenery: The book takes place mainly on Bainbridge Island in the Pacific northwest, and the Puget Sound is almost a character in and of itself. I would have preferred a little more descriptions since I have never been there and it sounded so beautiful. I connected with the concept of a place being restorative and taking on meaning on its own.
  • Bottom-line: Definitely worth a read, especially if you're headed on vacation this fall or already making a beach reading list for next summer!


  1. Love you. Already plotting ideas for our next book choice!!

    1. Yes me too!! I'm reading Half the Sky right now but I don't think that's a synchro-reading type book. Perhaps Uninvited Guests next? I'm open to suggestions! Love you too!