Paperback, 304 pages
Expected publication: November 26th 2013 by Plume
New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959
Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.
My thoughts: Trying desperately to overcome her grief, Ada Santorini leaves her career in New York and heads to Seattle. She has rented a houseboat on Lake Union. This is the very same houseboat where Penny Wentworth once lived as a young bride to her much older husband, the famous artist, Dexter Wentworth. Ada discovers the key to Penny's trunk and begins to delve into the mystery of Penny's disappearance. Some of the current neighbors were living there when Penny did. A little unlikely, but that's part of the story.
Switching back and forth between the perspectives of 1959 Penny and current day Ada, the story is told. I normally find dual time frames very interesting and easily read. However, my one quibble with Morning Glory is that the chapters were too short. I felt that I was just settling into one timeframe and character only to be abruptly yanked out of the scene and thrust into the other timeframe. Unfortunately, it wasn't a smooth transition.
After a while when an author uses the same formula, the stories tend to become predictable but that does not take away the enjoyment factor when reading one of Ms. Jio's books. Her deft handling of sense of place is excellent. No matter what time frame, I did feel as if I were on the houseboat with the different characters.
Having read every one of Sarah Jio's books, I think Morning Glory is not quite as good as The Bungalow or The Violets of March but still a very worthwhile and fun read. A little bit of mystery along with a little bit of romance made this a 3.5* read for me.
Sarah Jio, a native Seattleite, has written four previous novels. She can be found on her webpage, Goodreads and Facebook.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Plume in exchange for my honest opinion.