Book Review: Morning Glory

Morning Glory
Published By: Plume
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Page Count: 304
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Adult - Contemporary, Historical Fiction

I have been excited to read this one since the moment I heard about it. I adore Seattle and long for the days when I lived near the city. One of my favorite parts of the city was Lake Union and its floating homes. I was mesmerized by the homes and wondered about the lives of the people who lived in them. As the story was being written, I also enjoyed watching Sarah Jio post pictures of her time renting a houseboat. I would love to own one of these homes. Reading Morning Glory allowed me to experience (if only for a little while) what it would be like to be a resident of Lake Union.

I'm also a huge fan of Jio's work. She has a way of writing stories that suck me in every time. I love how her books always bounce between the past and the present. Jio's novels always deliver an intriguing contemporary and a thrilling historical mystery. 

Morning Glory's present story line follows Ada Santorini as she moves from New York City to Seattle. Ada's entire world was shattered when her husband and daughter die in a tragic accident. Everywhere she turns in NYC, a memory lurks. Ada fears she can never work through her pain in a city that haunts her. She decides on a whim to try something totally different and moves to Lake Union in Seattle. Her experiences on her rented houseboat plunge Ada into a mystery that has plagued her dock since the 1950's. 

The historical story takes place in the 1950's. This was different since typically Jio's stories take place during the WWII era. I liked seeing her deviate from her previous works a little. The history was just as intriguing as the historical portions of her previous novels. I do enjoy her contemporary sections, but it is truly the historical sections that allow Jio's writing to shine. Research and a strong emphasis on historical details makes the novel feel authentic. Her characters (in both the past and present) feel like they could waltz off the page. I don't want to talk too much about this aspect and give anything away, but I did enjoy the mystery. I never saw the twist coming, but looking back there were clues along the way. I wasn't sure how things would end up which led to some anxiety. I read this one quickly because I had to know how things would end.

Overall, my favorite part of this novel aside from the characters was the setting. Seattle is truly a captivating city and one that will always have my heart. Lake Union is the perfect setting for one woman to to move beyond her grief while another one in the past seeks to find her heart's desire. I appreciate that Jio shares her love for the city in her fiction. It allows me to take mental vacations whenever life gets a little too hectic and stressful. My only complaint is I love Jio's novels so much that I can't read them slowly.

One Last Gripe: I wanted to change some aspects of the ending.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: I always enjoy trying to figure out how the strands of the past and present will tie together.

First Sentence: I step down onto the old dock and it creaks beneath my feet, as if letting out a deep sigh.

Favorite Character: Ada

Least Favorite Character: Naomi

New York Times bestselling author Sarah Jio imagines life on Boat Street, a floating community on Seattle’s Lake Union—home to people of artistic spirit who for decades protect the dark secret of one startling night in 1959

Fleeing an East Coast life marred by tragedy, Ada Santorini takes up residence on houseboat number seven on Boat Street. She discovers a trunk left behind by Penny Wentworth, a young newlywed who lived on the boat half a century earlier. Ada longs to know her predecessor’s fate, but little suspects that Penny’s mysterious past and her own clouded future are destined to converge.


  1. This one sounds like its a lovely read, I've yet to give Jio a try (I'm not a huge fan of WWII era novels) but they all look great. I like that you mentioned that she deviated from her usual era. Fantastic review Andrea!
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

    1. You are correct; this one is set in the late 1950's - not WWII. I hope you'll give Jio's novels a try. They alternate between past and present, but event the WWII eras (aside from The Bungalow) don't go into a ton of details about the actual wars. They focus more on women's experiences.

  2. What a sad premise for such a happy title!


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