I’ve seen Sarah Jio receive a lot of love in the blogging community and was excited to read this novel with my book club ladies. Unfortunately, the book did not live up to the hype for me or most of the other Litwits.
The members who found the book enjoyable liked the ease factor of the reading experience – there was nothing heavy or deeply layered. Instead, this book was great for ‘bubble bath’ reading which was exactly where I read each and every word! Jio also has a wonderful sense of place. The island where the story takes place was so vivid. I wanted to walk those beaches. I, personally, also appreciated having some kick ass older female characters.
But mostly, the story fell flat. We felt that the plot was contrived with a soap opera-ish vibe. Everyone hated that all the characters conveniently had changed their names over the years to help hide the mystery. Emily called the whole thing ‘lazy’. I can’t say I disagree with her. The ending seemed a let down for most as well. Silly, predictable, and eye-rollingly simple. The mystery really wasn’t that thrilling, nor that mysterious. I think it had a potential Jio never lived up to.
Some ladies claimed that the blurbs and synopsis were very misleading – that the book was less mystery, more romance. If they’d had better warning going in, they might have enjoyed the story more instead of expecting something completely different. Others didn’t find Emily’s reaction to her divorce very believable – especially the immediate two love interests. The parallelism between Emily’s modern story and Esther’s historical story was also a bit beyond everyone’s belief.
While we didn’t find Jio’s debut stunning or particularly well written, many Litwits claimed they’d be willing to try another of Jio’s novels now that they know better what to expect. I’m also tempted to give her another go since so many bloggers enjoy her. Are we just crazy? Let me know if you think her other two books are any better in the comments!
In addition to our book discussion, we also did a gift swap where everyone bought a gift ($10 or less) that in some way related to ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas! We had a ton of fun with this without breaking the bank and highly recommend to anyone looking for something festive. The Litwits – we are awesome!