Jul 22, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio

"I promised Lady Anna," she said. "It only seemed right after...what happened to her."
"Mrs. Dilloway, what did happen to her?"
( ch. 15)
Title: The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
Published May 28, 2013; Plume
Genre: fiction

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?

For more reviews, visit the book's tour schedule at TLC Book Tours

Sarah Jio is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Blackberry WinterThe Violets of March, and The Bungalow. She has written articles for magazines such as Glamour, SELF, Health, Redbook, Cooking Light, O, The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day and many other publications. She lives in Seattle with her family.

Connect with Sarah at her website, Sarahjio.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

GIVEAWAY:  Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher, I can offer five books for give away to U.S. and/or Canadian residents. Please leave a comment with a way to reach you if you should win. The contest will run through July 26, and the five winners will be notified on July 27, with a reply requested by July 29. Good luck and thanks in advance for entering the contest!

The contest has ended and the winners have been notified.


  1. This book sounds like an excellent read, it is on my wish list and I would love to read it.

    cenya2 at Hotmail dot com

  2. This sounds like my kind of read—thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    skkorman AT bellsouth DOT net

  3. Not entering the contest, but this does sound like an intriguing story. When a story can switch between time frames and not lose your attention, that says a lot for the writer and the plot.

    Thoughts in Progress

  4. Thanks for featuring this lovely novel. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. This format would keep me thinking. I like intrigue.

  6. Sarah Jio's books have been in my tbr list forever. Thank you for the fabulous giveaway! minadecaro at hotmail dot com

  7. This book sounds perfect for summer reading. many thanks for this chance. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  8. Historical mystery sounds good. I haven't read anything by Sarah Jio yet but I keep reading good reviews. Thanks for the giveaway.

    undermyappletree at gmail dot com

  9. I've read your other book. Would love to read this one too.


  10. This sounds like a winner! I read Violets of March a couple of months ago and would love to read more by Sarah Jio. Thanks for the giveaway.


  11. Trees, mystery, a bit of history and crime... a perfect combination for a great story! Would sure love to win this one!

  12. Glad you enjoyed this one! She writes a solid story!

  13. This is almost a new genre, I think, the switching back and forth between now and then.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Books that go into different time eras are always interesting to me.
    I checked your website and signed up for your updates.
    Appreciate the giveaway.

    (Had to repost to correct a spelling)

  16. This sounds exciting! Please enter me in your giveaway. I'll post it in my blog's sidebar, Harvee. :)


  17. I enjoy books that intertwine the past and the present. Thanks for the giveaway.
    mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

  18. oh oh I love that type of historical novels with several periods, a bit like Kate Morton's books. would love to read it.
    thanks for the giveaway
    Emma @ Words And Peace
    ehc16e at yahoo dot com

  19. Sound like a winner - I do have the eGalley so no need to enter me. Great giveaway item.

  20. I'm a fan so I hope I win a copy :)
    stacybooks at yahoo

  21. I'm seeing this one around blog land and it sounds fantastic.

  22. Sounds like an interesting book, and I really like the time period it is set in. The cover is beautiful. Please enter me. Thanks!


  23. Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

  24. I've been wanting to read this author, think I'll start with this one. You made it sound so good! :)

  25. I like the quote at top of page. I've read one of Jio's books. Would like to read all.

  26. I think I've only read one of her books before, but this sounds delightful and surprising. Thanks for the giveaway.

    savvyverseandwit AT gmail


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