Saturday, December 17, 2011

Book Review: The Bungalow, by Sarah Jio

The Bungalow was a great mix for me--historical fiction wrapped up in a breathtaking romance.

In 1942, Anne decides to join up and become a nurse in the army. She ends up in Bora-Bora. She is with her best friend, Kitty, but left her fiance at home after postponing the wedding for a year.

A lot happens to Anne and Kitty during their year on the island. Yes, there's horrible injuries to deal with, and lots of them. But there's also romance, accidental pregnancy, unexplained violence, deceit, and even murder.

The war-time details aren't specific. Guadalcanal is mentioned, and heavy fighting and casualties are part of island life, but the book isn't really about the war.

The bungalow, is a small cottage right in the jungle off the beach where Anne and her lover, Westry, meet. The natives think the bungalow is cursed, and anyone who enters will have much bad luck. Anne and Westry don't believe these tales. However, there is a beautiful painting left in the bungalow, and they wonder if maybe a famous French artist lived in the bungalow at one point.

The war story is wrapped by a current-day story, where a mysterious letter arrives and asks Anne (now in her 80s) to return to the island to help solve a murder. This prompts Anne to tell her grand daughter the story of her time in Bora-Bora and her experiences after the war.

Jio writes beautifully and smoothly. It's really a joy to read, and I became wrapped up in these lives. Yes, things end up a little too nicely, and there is a little too much coincidence, but after all, this is a feel-good romance -- and it made me feel good (although a few tears were shed.)

This is really a novel for adults, but mature teen girls who love a warm, romantic story may enjoy this one.

Published by Plume, December 27, 2011
eBook obtained from NetGalley for review
320 pages

Rating: 4/5

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1 comment:

  1. What a lovely escapist read, just the thing for winter. Thanks for the recommendation :)


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