The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

The Bungalow by Sarah Jio

Publication Date: 27 Dec 2011

Publisher: Plume, Penguin Group, USA

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Set amid the tropical Pacific island of Bora-Bora, the story of Anne Calloway, 21 year-old Army nurse, and Westry Green, a handsome and slightly mysterious soldier, unfolds through the pages of this novel set during the early years of WWII. They meet near the beginning of the story and a friendship evolves through their shared use of a tiny, thatched roof bungalow with abundant yellow hibiscus blooming in its doorway. Their small hut is tucked away from the beach on the edge of the jungle, allowing them a great deal of privacy. As their friendship progresses to love, their time together on the island is shortened due to obligations to their service, the added anxiety of Anne’s engagement to an old friend back home, and their unintentional witnessing of a murder near their bungalow.

The story is a complex one with added tension between Anne and her best friend, Kitty, with whom she enlisted. Kitty is the opposite of Anne, vivacious and outgoing, always attracting male attention. The characters in the novel are complex and thought-provoking. The descriptions of the island are lush and vivid. The mystery lies in the plot surrounding the murder, and a thread of the furtive secret flows through the story. The the enduring love she feels for Westry spans 70 years with a satisfying ending to both the mystery and the heartache.


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Filed under Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

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