I have always loved flowers and botanical. These delicate petals, pastel colors and the divine smell. And I could not resist the urge to buy the new Sarah Jio’s book when I saw a fragile camellia depicted on the front cover.
The novel starts when the New York city woman Addison and her husband decide to enjoy the summer at the beautiful manor in the UK. Having arrived at the household, they are taken aback by the suspicious atmosphere of the Livingston Manor and the secrets that it has been hiding for years. With her passion for flowers and her past that destroys young woman from inside out, Addison starts solving the mysteries of the manor.
Sixty years ago, the girl named Flora, travels from New York to Livingston Manor too. But Flora has another reason to take such a long journey: hired as a nanny for Lord Livingston kids, she actually is coming there to obtain a last Middlebury Pink camellia, which blossoms in the garden surrounding the manor. Unwilling to perform such a disgraceful act to earn money for her family in America, Flora becomes friends with the orphaned children and finds true love in the manor.
Sarah Jio mixes past and present graciously in her novel. The author unravels the story carefully, leaving readers the chance to savor the depiction of the magnificent garden and grasp the whole idea of her writing. However, sometimes it seems that everything goes too fast and the author jumps from one point to completely another.
Although, some plot twists seem too obvious and the characters’ personalities need more explanation, that didn’t ruin my initial positive impression of the atmosphere of the book. I have never been the fan of chick lit, but I must admit that The Last Camellia made me hear the gentle rustle of the dark-green leaves of the garden plants. I felt the tension and excitement when both woman, Addison and Flora found out the truth hidden from them.
The Last Camellia is not a story about a flower. It is about love, courage, forgiveness and atonement. It leaves you both overwhelmed and perplexed.
I finished reading a couple of days ago and still feel like I’m walking that garden with main characters. And when I close my eyes, I can see the graceful evergreen camellias and catch the delicate and fresh floral scent that fills me with serenity and gratitude.