Morning Glory by Sarah Jio (Nov. 2013)

morningHaving grown up near Seattle, I knew the setting of this novel — the house boats on Lake Union.  It was a pleasure to read Morning Glory, by the native Seattlite, Jio, and to recognize many of the places mentioned.  I learned things I was less acquainted with, too, like the cultural strictures that even egalitarian Seattle women lived with in the late 50s, and the art scene.  The grief that the main character lives with is something I hope to never be more acquainted with.  Mostly, this was a pleasant, enjoyable, easy romantic suspense (but the mystery does not entail anything gory) that switches back and forth between the late 50s and the present, in the exact same location — the houseboats.  I pretty much gobbled up this book.  But I have to warn you:  one needs a tolerance for puzzle pieces fitting neatly together.  If you like your rough edges, you won’t like this book.  It’s not that everything ends up hunky dory.  There is real tragedy and unfairness, and real effort to survive and move on.  But the lives lived among the houseboats in this novel do end up intimately intertwined through the decades, in ways surprising and too perfect to be truly realistic.  It’s part of the fun of the story, how everything fits together.  But you have to be the “half-full” sort of reader to appreciate it; if you’re the “half-empty” sort, you might think “oh, pulease”, in spite of enjoying other aspects of the story and the writing.  Advance Reader’s Copy provided by BEA.

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