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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."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-09
- Reviewer: Staff
Jio’s fifth novel, following The Last Camellia, explores the degree to which time and distance give comfort to those who have experienced loss. In 2008, Ada Santorini’s life in New York as deputy editor of Sunrise magazine is shaken by personal tragedy. She leaves her job and rents a houseboat on Seattle’s Lake Union, hoping a change of location will provide the healing she needs. Yet her new home has its own tragedy—the disappearance in 1959 of a local woman, Penny Wentworth, which no one in the small, tight-knit community will discuss. When Ada finds a trunk in her houseboat and realizes it belonged to the missing woman, she and her new friend Alex, a neighboring houseboat renter, decide to uncover the truth. The growth of Ada and Alex’s relationship as they work together is satisfying, but the beautifully rendered setting emerges as an equally important character. However, the flashbacks to 1959 are so strong that readers may lose patience with the present-day narrative, while the town’s secret is too easy to figure out. Fans of Jio’s previous works should find that the depth of feeling in her writing overcomes the drawbacks. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (Dec.)