The Last Camellia
The Middlebury Pink camellia, the last plant of its kind, is rumored to be found on the large estate of Lord Livingston and Lady Anna. With England on the brink of World War II, Flora has left her parents’ home in New York to become nanny to the couple’s four children while she searches for the rare plant for her other employer, an exotic plant broker. They say that Lady Anna died of a broken heart a year ago, due to her philandering husband, who had hoped to please her by creating a beautiful camellia tree orchard. Mystery surrounds the nearby village as young girls begin to disappear, and Flora grows to love the children and regret her involvement with the plant thieves.
Sixty years later, a writer and his wife move to the estate, recently purchased by his parents, to help him find his writing muse. Addison fills her day exploring the estate and rooms, becoming fascinated with the beautiful camellia tree orchard on the property. The mystery she needs to unravel from the past begins when she finds Lady Anna’s book, filled with pressed camellia blossoms and mysterious names and dates on each page. Will she uncover the whereabouts of the missing women of sixty years ago as well as the location of the Middlebury Pink?
In her fourth novel, Sarah Jio does not disappoint her readers. Her now-familiar format of a modern character who uses her curiosity and passion to uncover and solve mysteries from the past is full of revelations and villains. Although I have found that her wonderful books have predictable conclusions, there are both frightening and lovely surprises in The Last Camellia.