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The Last Camellia: A Novel | [Sarah Jio]

The Last Camellia: A Novel

On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes. More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?
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Publisher's Summary

On the eve of the Second World War, the last surviving specimen of a camellia plant known as the Middlebury Pink lies secreted away on an English country estate. Flora, an amateur American botanist, is contracted by an international ring of flower thieves to infiltrate the household and acquire the coveted bloom. Her search is at once brightened by new love and threatened by her discovery of a series of ghastly crimes. More than half a century later, garden designer Addison takes up residence at the manor, now owned by the family of her husband, Rex. The couple’s shared passion for mysteries is fueled by the enchanting camellia orchard and an old gardener’s notebook. Yet its pages hint at dark acts ingeniously concealed. If the danger that Flora once faced remains very much alive, will Addison share her fate?

©2013 Sarah Jio (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Terrific . . . compelling . . . an intoxicating blend of mystery, history, and romance, this book is hard to put down.” (Real Simple)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (56 )
5 star
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3.8 (49 )
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Story
3.7 (47 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kim FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 06-11-13
    Kim FLEMING ISLAND, FL, United States 06-11-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Addictive"

    This book was addictive from the minute I started it. I just loved they mystery and intrigue in The Last Camellia. And when I thought I figured the mystery all out and the ending, Sarah Jio surprised me with something I wasn't expecting.

    This was my first Sarah Jio novel and I think I've become addicted to not only this book but her as well. Now I am going to listen to all of her previous books.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen eugene, or, United States 02-16-14
    karen eugene, or, United States 02-16-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beyond Terrible!"
    What would have made The Last Camellia better?

    Characters who behaved in a reasonable and believable manner to life's events. A narrator who isn't as difficult to listen to as fingernails on a chalkboard. Seriously, there is no way to make it better. It is just too terrible for words.


    Has The Last Camellia turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Just other books by this author and narrator.


    How could the performance have been better?

    Get a voice coach. Work on dialing down the whine.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Last Camellia?

    Well, I didn't finish this book which is UNHEARD of for me. I quit listening when a character witnessed the murder/manslaughter/killing of a toddler and decided not to report it. Really? That is how you would react? There are so many other unbelievable reactions that come earlier in the book. The one I mentioned was just the straw that broke the camel's back.


    Any additional comments?

    I hated this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Woodstock, GA, United States 08-31-13
    Laura Woodstock, GA, United States 08-31-13 Member Since 2011

    Dances with the masses . . .

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story"
    What other book might you compare The Last Camellia to and why?

    It reminds me of some Kate Morton books. I like the way the story is woven of the past and present.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I liked when she finally came clean about her past. I understand why here having a secret was important to the story, but it felt forced that she wouldn't speak of her past openly.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions, but I did like it.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DHackney Round Rock, Texas 08-30-13
    DHackney Round Rock, Texas 08-30-13
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    "Beautiful Dual Time-Line Fiction"

    I have to admit that I know next to nothing about flowers and gardening. For that very reason, I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this book which mystery surrounds a rare Camellia. I actually looked up camellia photos on line to help me prepare for the story. Let me tell you... this was a great dual time line story. The suspense was intense in both the modern tale and the historical story. I thought the character development was superb. Whether you know flowers or not, mystery fans will love this book. I remain a fan of Ms. Jio!!
    The performance by Justine Eyre was pleasant and she kept each character sounding individual - which I find amazing!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Burlington, KS, United States 08-19-13
    Linda Burlington, KS, United States 08-19-13 Member Since 2010

    RETIRED & LOVING IT.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "SURPRISED AT THE GREAT STORY LINE."

    THE FIRST FEW ROUNDS YOU HAVE TO BE PATIENT, AND THEN SLAM, BANG, YOU ARE REVOLVING BETWEEN TWO TIME PERIODS THAT MESH PERFECTLY. THE STORY IS SPELL BINDING, OR I WOULD NEVER HAVE STUCK WITH IT. THIS IS A NEW AUTHOR TO ME, BUT I WILL BE SURE TO CHECK OUT HER OTHER BOOKS. A GREAT LITTLE MURDER MYSTERY THAT COVERS TWO FAMILIES, AND OVER 70 YEARS. LOVED, LOVED THE ENDING. JUSTINE EYRE DID A FABULOUS JOB, IN COVERING SO MANY PEOPLE AND ACCENTS SEAMLESSLY. SARAH JIO YOU ARE SOME WRITER, THANK YOU FOR A SUNDAY OF GREAT SUSPENSE.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 06-25-13
    Catherine TALLAHASSEE, FL, United States 06-25-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too little camelia, too much violence"
    Where does The Last Camellia rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Somewhere in the middle.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have removed the gory descriptions of the violence and added more information about camelias and botony.


    Which character – as performed by Justine Eyre – was your favorite?

    Flora


    Who was the most memorable character of The Last Camellia and why?

    Flora was the most memorable character because she was so human - she was a good, kind person placed in a difficult situation and tempted to do something she wouldn't normally consider because of her desire to protect those she loved.


    Any additional comments?

    The gory descriptions of the violence overshadowed what would have been a perfect read. I have to add that the book was not replete with violence - there weren't many instances of it, but the instances that occur in this book are far to graphic for my taste.

    The plot is well constructed with a story that weaves two lives from two different time periods masterfully. I found the story engaging, but I was somewhat disappointed that there wasn't more information about camelias and botony. I like mysteries that teach as well as entertain me. There was some information, just not quite enough to make it as much of an intellectual exercise as I would have liked.

    The performance was exceptional. Justine Eyre could not have read it any better.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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