The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
Title: The Bungalow
Author: Sarah Jio
Publication Date: 12-27-11
Pages: 290 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction/Mystery/Romance/Literary Fiction/Historical Fiction
The Bungalow was my second Sarah Jio novel, the first being Blackberry Winter (see my review) I ended up liking this one more than the other one. While I loved the writing style of both, I found the plot of The Bungalow to be more intriguing.
In my review of Blackberry Winter, I mentioned that I had been able to guess the answers to quite a few of the secrets that the novel revolved around. Unfortunately, I was even more disappointed with the predictability of The Bungalow. For the first time ever, I was able to easily foresee every single one of the little twists and turns that came up throughout the book. Like I said in my review of Blackberry Winter, I find Sarah Jio’s novels to be quite similar to those of Kate Morton…except for the fact that Kate Morton’s novels are better, because they’re much less predictable (at least, for me).
But, to be fair, it’s a serious testament to Jio’s writing that, even though I was able to predict everything in this book, I still ended up giving it a solid 4-star rating. I listened to this one on an audiobook and loved the voice actor; I thought she did a great job. I also really liked the ending to this book. Although it does have somewhat of a happy ending and everything is resolved, there is this incredible sadness permeating the entire novel, including its resolution. People’s lives were drastically and irrevocably altered because of other people’s good or bad decisions. It was absolutely awful. But, at the same time, there was also a great sense of rightness, warmth, and almost…optimism. This book was simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking.
I got so sucked into this world. I honestly did not want this book to end, and was savoring every second of it right up until the last page. I was engrossed in the unique and beautiful setting of Bora Bora, and captivated by Annie’s adventurous life and spirit. And, even though the storyline was predictable, I still wanted to keep reading to find out how it all turned out and whether or not it ended the way I wanted it to end. This book was also so incredibly romantic, and I loved everything about Annie and Westry’s romance. Although I will admit that parts of it were slightly unbelievable, I was willing to overlook that aspect because it was so adorable and perfect.
I just can’t help but love Jio’s writing. Her characters are so developed, relatable, and likable. And even the ones you don’t like are very well-rounded. I do think that she is trying too hard to be a mystery writer…I think she should focus on just doing romantic women’s fiction instead, because she is just not goodat the whole “plot twist” thing. But I will continue to read her work, because for me it is enjoyable and very well done.