Morning Glory (Jio)

Morning Glory 
Sarah Jio, 2013
Penguin Group (USA)
304 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780142196991

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. (From the publisher.)

Author Bio
Where—Washington State, USA
Education—B.A., Western Washington University
Currently—lives in Seattle, Washington

Sarah Jio is a veteran magazine writer and the health and fitness blogger for Glamour magazine. She has written hundreds of articles for national magazines and top newspapers including Redbook, O, The Oprah Magazine, Cooking Light, Glamour, SELF, Real Simple, Fitness, Marie Claire, Hallmark magazine, Seventeen, The Nest, Health, Bon Appetit, Gourmet, The Seattle Times, Parents, Woman’s Day, American Baby, Parenting, and Kiwi. She has also appeared as a commentator on NPR’s Morning Edition.

Sarah has a degree in journalism and writes about topics that include food, nutrition, health, entertaining, travel, diet/weight loss, beauty, fitness, shopping, psychology, parenting and beyond. She frequently tests and develops recipes for major magazines.

Her first novel The Violets of March, published in April, 2011, was chosen as a Best Book of 2011 by Library Journal. Her second novel, The Bungalow, was published in December of the same year. Blackberry Winter came out in 2012. The Last Camellia and Morning Glory were both issued in 2013.

Sarah lives in Seattle with her husband, Jason, and three young sons. (From the author's website.)

Book Reviews
Ada Santorini...rents a houseboat on Seattle’s Lake Union.... Yet her new home has its own tragedy—the disappearance in 1959 of a local woman.... [F]lashbacks to 1959 are so strong that readers may lose patience with the present-day narrative....[yet] the depth of feeling in her writing overcomes the drawbacks
Publishers Weekly

[Ada Santorini] discovers that [her] houseboat was once the home of a woman [whose]....disappearance back in 1959...the neighbors won't discuss. Ada asks a friend back home who works for the NYPD to help her investigate....The author maintains a steady succession of create suspense. [A] treat for fans.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. Why does Ada feel like she needs to leave New York? Is she going to Seattle for the “right reasons,” as Dr. Evinson puts it?

2. When Jim meets Ada for the first time he says, “No matter what, home is home. It’s where you belong.” How is this concept played out over the course of the book? What is “home” for Ada?

3. How does their mutual loneliness draw Jimmy and Penny together? What do the two have to offer to each other?

4. Collin tells Penny that he lives by a certain Mark Twain quote: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Do any of the other characters live this way? What prevents people from “throwing off the bowlines?”

5. The details of both Ada and Alex’s pasts are revealed slowly over the course of the novel. How does this parallel Ada’s discoveries about Penny? Why do you think the author chose to structure the novel this way?

6. What kind of kinship does Ada feel with Penny? Does trying to solve the mystery of her disappearance help Ada heal from the loss of James and Ella? Why does Ada blame herself for their deaths?

7. What role does faith play in the novel? Does Ada’s relationship with Alex alter her faith at all? Why are “the signs” she asks for so necessary for her to move on?

8. What do you make of Dexter? Did your opinion of him change as you read? How so? Why did he treat Penny so poorly? Did Penny truly understand how he felt about her?

9. How does the notion that “some of life’s most beautiful things grow out of the darkest moments” become a theme of the novel? Do you agree?

10.  Do Penny’s suspicions about Dexter’s “indiscretions” in some way free her to fall in love with Collin? Is she reluctant to leave Dexter in some ways? Why? Why does Collin sail away from Penny on the dock that night?

11. Were you surprised to discover who Penny’s attacker was? Did you understand his motivations?

12. Water is often a symbol of rebirth and new beginnings. Is that the case in Morning Glory? How so?

13. Discuss the epilogue. Were you surprised by its revelations? What kind of a future do you imagine for Alex and Ada?
(Questions issued by the publisher.)

top of page (summary)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2018