Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Book Review: Goodnight June, by Sarah Jio @sarahjio

I'm a huge Sarah Jio fan, and Goodnight June just added to my fandom!

Everyone has heard of the children's book Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown. If you haven't, go fix that right now. Jio has imagined the background for this book in her story, Goodnight June.

June has a great job in New York working for a bank. She's in charge of collecting all the overdue mortgages on small businesses, and doesn't hesitate to shut these businesses down if they can't pay. Her health is suffering, since she works long hours and takes little time for herself. She has pretty much lost contact with her family.

When she finds out her aunt has died and left her Seattle book store to June, her world gets turned upside down. June pretty much grew up in this store, called Bluebird Books. June's mother was less than attentive when she and her sister were growing up, so they spent a lot of time at her Aunt Ruby's store and in her apartment above the store. June feels terribly guilty that she hasn't seen her aunt, and didn't even know that the store has been closed for months because Ruby has been in a convalescent home.

June takes off to Seattle, with every intention of getting the store ready to sell. OK, well the story is NOT unpredictable. But, it's charming and warm, and very well written. The ending did contain an element of surprise at least for me. June meets the restaurateur from next door, Gavin. He's perfect, of course, and a romance quickly ensues. She struggles to forgive her sister for some past discretion that isn't revealed right away. And, not only is the store about to be foreclosed on, the bank doing the foreclosure is June's employer in New York. Talk about the tables being turned!

Ruby sends June on a scavenger hunt thought the store where she finds old letters of Ruby's hidden in children's books. These letters are about a friendship between Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon. It turns out Ruby was quite influential in Brown's life, and had much to do with the inspiration for her book.

In reading these letters, June also finds out about big secrets from Ruby's past, which she begins to investigate. In the process, she realizes that saving the store is her life's calling and sets out to do just that.

Jio has a gift for weaving a story through ups and downs, and even though we might know what's going to happen, the path to get there is mesmerizing. While some may call these stories "sappy," I just don't get that with Jio's writing. I simply melt into the characters and the world she's created.

If you like heartwarming romance that comes with a compelling plot, then you should try Goodnight June. And I highly recommend The Violets of March, Morning Glory, Blackberry Winter and The Bungalow also by Jio. Yes. I love this author. I do recommend her books to my high school girls, and they enjoy them also.

Published by Plume, May 27, 2014
eARC obtained from NetGalley
320 pages

Rating: 4/5

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