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The Last Camellia: A Novel Paperback – May 28, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Plume (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452298393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452298392
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

It’s April 1940, and young Flora Lewis has traveled to England under false pretenses. Her parents believe she has an internship at the famed London Conservatory. In reality, she will be working for flower thief Philip Price, who is looking to steal a rare camellia, the last remaining specimen of which is located at the remote Livingston Manor estate. Flora will act as nanny to Lord Livingston’s four children and locate the camellia. In return, Price will give her enough money to pay off her parents’ debts. Meanwhile, in modern-day New York, Addison and Rex Sinclair have decided to spend the summer in England, where Rex’s parents own the now-crumbling Livingston Manor. Addison is desperate to escape a blackmailer who is threatening to divulge a long-held secret. Jio’s (Blackberry Winter, 2012) well-paced novel brings these two worlds neatly together in an engaging story of two generations trying to move forward despite the powerful pull of the past. A thoughtful examination of history’s ability to haunt the present and the power of forgiveness to set things right. --Carol Gladstein

Review

Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Praise for Sarah Jio and her novels:
 
“Jio has become one of the most-read women in America.” —Woman’s World (on Morning Glory)
 
“Delightful and uplifting.” –Historical Novel Society (on Goodnight June)
 
“Linger[s] long after the last page.” –Romantic Times (on The Last Camellia)
                                                                                                                                                    
Eminently readable . . . a tribute to family and forgiveness.” --Booklist (on Goodnight June)
 
“Terrific … compelling … an intoxicating blend of mystery, history and romance.” –Real Simple (on Blackberry Winter)

More About the Author

Sarah Jio is the international, USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of THE VIOLETS OF MARCH (a Library Journal Best Book of 2011 and a USA Today bestseller), THE BUNGALOW, BLACKBERRY WINTER (an instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller, as well as an international bestseller), THE LAST CAMELLIA (a Kirkus Books Most Anticipated Book of 2012), MORNING GLORY, and GOODNIGHT JUNE (to be published in June 2014)--all from Penguin (Plume). To date, Sarah's novels are published in 24 countries, including Italy, France, Brazil, Turkey (where two of Sarah's books have become nationwide bestsellers), Slovenia, Russia, China, Norway, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Spain, and many others.

A magazine writer and the former founding health and fitness blogger for Glamour magazine, Sarah has written thousands of articles and blog posts for national magazines including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, BRIDES, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, Parents, Woman's Day, American Baby, Parenting, and many others. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR's Morning Edition.

Sarah recently finished her seventh novel and is at work on her next. She lives in Seattle and is the mother of three young sons.

The slightly more informal bio:

1978-1983: The blissful childhood years. Pigtails. French braids. Bunny rabbits. Warm, chocolate chip cookies. Blackberry picking. Saltwater sandals. Magical Christmases. Trips to Disneyland. Dress up. Swingsets. Bossing around younger siblings. Slip 'n Slides and kiddie pools. Shenanigans.

1983-1988: The jelly bracelet and Keds years. Wrote first book, titled "A Tug Boat's Dream." Leggings with long sweaters and belts. Hypercolor T-shirts. Pink boom boxes. Monarch butterflies. Norwegian dancing. Sleepovers. Cabbage Patch dolls. Lisa Frank stickers. Rollerskating at the rink. Little House on the Prairie. Experimental hairstyles, including feathered bangs and the poodle perm. Best friend moves away. Wishing on stars. First crushes. All details recorded in diary, read by little brother.

1988-1993: The hair-flipping years. Boys. Gap sale rack. Junior high angst. Rollerblading. Tennis. More bad hair. Survive California earthquake. Find a message in a bottle. Ate a lot of fettuccine alfredo. Move into new house. Babysitters Club. Italian sodas at the mall.

1993-1996: The band groupie years. Mohawked boyfriend. Broken heart. Cut hair to a short pixie and dye platinum blond. Church camps. Boys. Private school. Grounded. Tennis. Mexico. Debate team. Green 1969 Volkswagen Beetle. Grounded. Nancy Drew. Safeway. Banana Boat suntan lotion. Starbucks. Daydreaming.

1996-2000: The college years. Journalism. Character-building. Deadlines. Expeditions to Canada. Three part-time jobs. Date football player, Calvin Klein underwear model. Summers in Alaska. First apartment in Seattle. IKEA. Stan Getz. Soul searching.

2000-2005: The busy years. Get married (finish a magazine deadline the night before wedding). Honeymoon in Tahiti. Buy house. Remodel house. Become fanatical about gardening. Become doggie mama to Paisley the golden retriever who digs up prized garden. Go to a cooking class in Provence and spend two nights solo in Paris. Write a zillion magazine articles. Open a bottle of champagne when I see my name in O, The Oprah Magazine. Write first book. Do not sell first book (blessing in disguise). Beloved grandfather dies. Baby fever. Nesting.

2005-2013: The babies and books years. Buy another house. Remodel kitchen. Wash dishes in bathtub. Became a regular contributor to Glamour. First baby born. Colic. No sleep. Crying. Organic baby food. Balance. Magazines deadlines. Second baby arrives. Write new novel. Beloved grandma dies. Sign with literary agent. Sell novel at auction in U.S., and later in 14 countries. Sell second novel. Third baby arrives. Level of chaos in home explodes. Sign with film agent. Interview Gwyneth Paltrow (on the phone, while nursing a baby), Maya Angelou, and others. Sell third and fourth novels. Go on book tour. With a baby. Three boys under the age of six. Drink a lot of coffee, and sometimes wine. Buy new house. Dream of huge refrigerator and office with doors that lock. Write fifth novel, sixth and seventh. Take boys to Disneyland. Long runs. Big dreams. Health. New chapters. Grateful.

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Customer Reviews

I've read and loved all of her books and always look forward to her next one.
Jersey Girl
Great book held my interest , story was well written liked the way it went back and forth between the two time periods.
debbie morrison
Page turning book that keeps my attention, wanting me to read on to find out what is happening next.
Donna Ray

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Laura Kay on May 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
In 1940, Flora Lewis makes her way from the United States to a country manor just outside of England. Everyone believes she is there to be the new nanny, but she is really working with an international ring of flower thieves. On the estate, it is believed the last know Middlebury Pink camellia plant grows and it's Flora's job to find it. She is hoping to find it quickly and get back to her parents, but what Flora finds is a mystery greater than she ever expected.

Addison Sinclair and her husband Rex make there way to the country manor her in-laws have just purchased. Addison is running away from her mysterious past, hoping to figure out a plan. As Addison looks around the manor, she finds an old gardener's notebook with some mystery numbers, the couple tries to uncover this secret code. They soon realize they have stumbled upon a code connected to a half century old crime spree. Addison's past soon catches up with her, just as they begin to put all the pieces together.

I have loved all of Sarah Jio's books, but THE LAST CAMELLIA was amazing. I had such a hard time putting it down (yes, I always have this problem with her books), but I swear almost every chapter ended with a mini cliffhanger! I was sitting on the edge of my seat, never sure what was going to happen next. I was shocked by Addison's past!

THE LAST CAMELLIA switches between Flora and Addison's perspective. I really enjoyed how I had no clue how either story would end. I didn't know how everything would tie together. I was on pins and needles. I'm going to be honest and say I couldn't imagine a story surrounding a camellia plant could end up being so mysterious, but it was!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Miss Bonnie on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
"She always said it would bloom when it sensed peace, and a rightness with the world."

1940
Flora is approached about a job opportunity that would help save her family from ruin, unfortunately it requires her to set her morals aside in order to help a ring of flower thieves obtain a long lost camellia. It also requires her to travel to England in 1940 when World War II is underway.

2000
Addison and her husband travel to England to stay at the manor his parents have just purchased. Upon their arrival they find themselves immersed in a dark mystery from the 1940's that involves the mysterious death of the lady of the manor and several girls who went missing. One in particular is a girl named Flora, a nanny who stayed at the manor, who disappeared one night and was never seen from again.

This is now the fourth Sarah Jio book I've read in which she's stuck with her tried and true method of weaving stories of the past and stories of the present together to create something truly engaging. The dual narratives switched back and forth frequently between Flora and Addison but there was never any confusion between the two. I found myself far more interested in the past story than the present, but technically they were one in the same considering how they came together in the end.

I found that the major story was told (for both Flora and Addison) but the smaller stories and details weren't fleshed out completely. One example is I really wish there had been more of a proper build-up in the relationship between Flora and Desmond. It seemed far too sudden when the confessions of love started happening, but those two managed to be charming nonetheless.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By C. Yates on May 31, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Sarah Jio always manages to leave me with tears in my eyes as I finish one of her books. I love the way she tells a double story, one set in the past and one set in the present time, usually with a mystery to be solved in both times. Then she manages to tug at the heart with the empathy I feel for the characters, all the while making me rush to turn the pages. But as I near the end of her books, even though I can't turn the pages fast enough, I hate to see the story end. Sarah is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By misplaced cajun on May 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
Sarah Jio is one of those authors that all my fellow readers seem to LOVE. But it's taken me until now, when the release of THE LAST CAMELLIA -her fourth book - is looming, to dive in. At least now I can understand the fanaticism :)

1940: Flora Lewis is desperate to help her family. As her parents struggle to keep their bakery above water, Flora is approached with a unique - if dishonest - opportunity: rumors of a rare camellia have sparked the interest of a ring of flower thieves. Flora is sent to Clivebrook, England, to pose as a nanny for the Livingston family. Her real job is to track down the Middlebury Pink and in exchange will be handsomely rewarded. The promise of much-needed funds to help her family is her deciding factor, but she never planned on becoming attached to the Livingston children. Nor had she counted on becoming involved in a mystery surrounding the estate.

2000: Addison Sinclair is trying to escape her past. When her husband's parents offer the couple use of their new country estate in England, Addison decides it's exactly what they need. As her husband, Rex, works diligently on his budding novel, Addison makes a surprising discovery: an orchard of camellias and a journal with a strange code and notes regarding the orchard. Addison and Rex soon discover that Clivebrook was home to a number of disappearances just before WWII. And the names of the missing girls match the ones Addison has found in the journal. But unravelling the journal isn't as easy as it seems, especially when the one person who can help the most isn't talking.

Jio is apparently known for her dual timeline story telling and it's a device I quite enjoy.
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