Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review: Bungalow

Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Publication Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Historical Romance, World War II
Pages: Paperback, 320pp
ISBN-13: 978-0452297678
ISBN: 0452297672

(Received for an honest review from Plume)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Sarah Jio on the WEB: website, blog, facebook

Excerpt from Bungalow


A sweeping World War II saga of thwarted love, murder, and a long-lost painting.

In the summer of 1942, twenty-one-year-old Anne Calloway, newly engaged, sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on the Pacific island of Bora-Bora. More exhilarated by the adventure of a lifetime than she ever was by her predictable fiancé, she is drawn to a mysterious soldier named Westry, and their friendship soon blossoms into hues as deep as the hibiscus flowers native to the island. Under the thatched roof of an abandoned beach bungalow, the two share a private world-until they witness a gruesome crime, Westry is suddenly redeployed, and the idyll vanishes into the winds of war.

A timeless story of enduring passion, The Bungalow chronicles Anne's determination to discover the truth about the twin losses-of life, and of love-that have haunted her for seventy years.


Sarah Jio's sophomore effort, The Bungalow, lives up the acclaim of her debut novel, The Violets of March. The Bungalow is an atmospheric novel set in 1942 on the island of Bora Bora, during World War II. Jio continues to astound readers with her smooth elegant style and unforgettable characters. Jio has a knack for setting the scene and allowing the reader to be a part of the action. This is a romance with a historical setting that will leave readers entertained and satisfied.

Sarah Jio brings readers a very passionate and intense story of love. Anne Calloway is having doubts about her upcoming marriage. When she sets off to serve in the Army Nurse Corps on Bora Bora she has no idea that she will fall in love with another man. Anne was such a great character. She is like most young women, she wants a love that means something, that has depth and with a man who is crazy about her, and she just doesn't have that with her fiancee. I loved the fact that she took a risk and decided to go to Bora Bora in the first place. I don't think she was running away, she was just following her heart. Jio has created a character that will resonate with female readers. We can understand Anne and that makes us like her even more.

Westry is the epitome of a hero. He is a soldier. He's strong and capable, but he also has a vulnerable side. He is willing to let Anne into his life and his heart. He doesn't seem to have any reservations about their friendship and eventually their love. I thought Jio did a good job making him accessible to the reader. He was a bit mysterious and had a side to him that was a bit shadowed. And as the story played out and Anne is sent back to the states and Westry is redeployed, it kind of makes sense.

These two characters were passionate about everything they did, whether it was remodeling and fixing up the bungalow or in their relationship. They didn't hold back and sometimes I think that's the key to a great love story. The plot proves this out, by showing Anne in her later years still thinking about what happened and wondering about a man she has loved for over seventy years. It's a timeless love story that will stay in the hearts of readers even after they turn the last page. It's a book you think about days or months later when you are thinking about love.

Jio does a fantastic job with this novel. It's very atmopsheric in the sense that there is a certain feeling that prevades the book. One of longing and passion. It's just one of those books that gets under your skin. I loved the setting. Jio brings Bora Bora to life like I've never seen it. I've always known it was an island in the Pacific, but I didn't know any details about it. I enjoyed learning about it and felt like Jio had a real grasp of setting and attention to the right details. A great second book!

Bungalow is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Sarah Jio is the health and fitness blogger for, and her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine and Real Simple, among other publications. She lives in Seattle with her husband and three children.