The Last Camellia

August 8, 2013

The Last Camellia
By: Sarah Jio
320 Pages
A Miss Book Lovers joint review

Addison is trying to outrun her past. However, it's keeping pace with her and threatening to be her unraveling. Flora is desperate to help her family. But her plans come undone when a family's secrets no longer stay secret.

Once again, Sarah Jio has written a book that sucks you in from page one. We both were glued from the very start. We couldn't wait to see what new story twist was going to unfold before our eyes- and there were many. By the time you have read the last word, you have gone through every emotion.

Flora is the beloved daughter of parents who are struggling with their own bakery. The 1940s are a tough time with World War II running it's path of destruction. Being the family oriented daughter that she is, Flora is willing to do anything to guarantee her parents' future financially. When her father is roughed up in an alley over money, Flora reaches the "desperate times call for desperate measures" point, so she accepts a rather dangerous assignment: pose as the nanny to a family who's vast property is rumored to house the last of the rare Middlebury Pink camellia stolen from royalty. Telling her family she's going to attend school overseas, she boards a ship for England.

As firm as Flora's plan seems to be for her, there are a few things she doesn't expect. One, is meeting the handsome Desmond on her trip overseas. They feel an instant connection, but she never expects to see him again. Flora is stunned when she does see him again and learns he's the black sheep brother to the children she cares for. Another thing Flora doesn't expect is have the maternal feelings for the children she's to be the nanny for.

Flora steps into a mourning family environment that comes with a mystery. The mother mysteriously died the year before. Also, women from the nearby village are going missing. It isn't long before Flora realizes there's a connection between the mother's death and the village disappearances.

Addison is a woman who has survived a tortured childhood that no child should have to endure. (We both had a hard time with the abuse scenes, but were thankful there weren't many of them.) Thinking she was finally free from Sean, the one responsible for her young life of sorrow and abuse, she does what she can to forge a new life for herself. Her real name, Amanda, is traded in for a new one- Addison. Sean is sent to prison, but what Addison didn't know was that he spent his sentence planning his revenge. When Sean is paroled, he begins contacting her with threats of destroying her new life. Addison never told her husband, Rex, about her childhood. and Sean is threatening to do it for her.

The chance of fleeing to the new mansion Rex's parents just bought in England is the opportunity to get away from Sean. While there, she explores the rooms and finds various things left behind from the previous residents. She learns of the missing village women, and before long, she's unraveling the mystery Flora stumbled upon. While learning what happened, Addison's own nightmare has followed her.

We are under the firm belief that Sarah Jio cannot write a bad book. With every one of her books, you are gripped from start to finish. You get thrown for a loop with every plot twist she throws at you. She writes stories full of characters you can't help but bond with. We rooted for Desmond and Flora to have a happy ending. We were excited when Sean got his in the end. We were floored when you read how Flora took matters into her own brave hands during a cab ride. The way everything ties together in the end is nothing short of breathtaking.

We hope you read The Last Camellia and love it every bit as much as we did. We hope you find the story one of strength and inspiration. We hope you read the book with a glass of wine handy and some chocolate.

Thank you, Sarah Jio, for writing books that forever stay with us. It is our honor and privilege to read your novels. We can't wait for the next one!


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