"I promised Lady Anna," she said. "It only seemed right after...what happened to her."Title: The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
"Mrs. Dilloway, what did happen to her?" ( ch. 15)
Published May 28, 2013; Plume
My comments: Many women's fiction novels today are written as part historical novel and part contemporary, such as this one. The story begins in 1803, switches to 2000, and back to 1940. Most of the story of the lost camellia tree is told in the 1940s when a young woman, Flora, is sent as a spy into the Livingston household in England, to find the whereabouts of the unusual tree on the vast estate.
The story switches back and forth to 2000, when a young couple moves into the former Livingston estate, and the young wife Addison finds a scrapbook by Lady Livingston from the 1940s with notes on the camellia trees on the property. She becomes involved in the mysterious goings on in the household from the past, events that Addison "inherits" in the present.
A tempting historical mystery with an unusual theme. Highly recommended.
Publisher's description: In 1940, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes.
In the year 2000, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?
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