Goodnight June: A Novel
By Sarah Jio
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 5/27/2014
My Rating: 4 Stars
The New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter imagines the inspiration for Goodnight MoonGoodnight Moon is an adored childhood classic, but its real origins are lost to history.
In Goodnight June, Sarah Jio offers a suspenseful and heartfelt take on how the “great green room” might have come to be.June Andersen is professionally successful, but her personal life is marred by unhappiness.
Unexpectedly, she is called to settle her great-aunt Ruby’s estate and determine the fate of Bluebird Books, the children’s bookstore Ruby founded in the 1940s. Amidst the store’s papers, June stumbles upon letters between her great-aunt and the late Margaret Wise Brown—and steps into the pages of American literature.
Thank you, to PENGUIN GROUP Plume, and NetGalley for providing an ARC, in exchange for an honest review.
What a delightful, magical, and inspirational read by talented Sarah Jio, and is reflective of her creative passion and research throughout the book. If you have followed Margaret Wise Brown-the international classic children’s author of the famous “Goodnight Moon”, you will love stepping back into the pages of American literature, and sharing in the journey of this close bond of friendship, and heart-felt letters between these two women- and how their lives connected. June, a successful VP at a bank in New York, has left her home in Seattle and her ties with her sister, due to a betrayal which she deems unforgivable, putting walls up around her. Of course, at the bank her job is to foreclose on small businesses without sympathy or care, and daily meds needed for her anxiety and stress to cope. She receives the news her favorite Aunt Ruby has died, and left her the Bluebirds Bookstore in Seattle. June has loved this bookstore and has fond memories from childhood; however, she knows it is in financial ruin (like who can make a bookstore work in the days of the internet), and her first thought is to sell it to a developer and continue with her life in New York. However, walking into the bookstore with its charming loft upstairs, she immediately is drawn to fond memories from her childhood and gets pulled in. She soon discovers more than the large debt owed on the property; She finds letters written between her Aunt Ruby and the famous Margaret Wise Brown (two best friends sharing their secrets), hidden with clues inside the books, and the inspiration for her famous book . . . and oh, even more mysterious The Bluebird Bookstore was a gift from Ruby’s married lover.. (you need to read the book to learn more) – do not want to spoil (quite delicious)! June sets out to uncover its past and bring the “green room” back to life. Full of mystery, and treasures, and of course, a new love interest, Gavin who owns the restaurant next door. Combined with June’s love for books, her desire to rebuild her Aunt’s legacy, and the love of an exciting new man, plus plenty of other surprises in the treasure box, along the way . . . . Strength, resilience, and courage will give her the power to create miracles and demonstrate the answers were right in front of her all along. You will love the mentions of The Great Gatsby, and Ernest Hemingway and other literary names and children’s books! Reminiscent of book lovers’ memories of quaint small bookstores and libraries around the country – this book is an inspiration and reminder of the magic and power of storytelling, as a place of solace and fond memories which we need to keep alive as a legacy. Even though we all read e-books, there is something special about a hardback book with printed pages, and reading it surrounded by hundreds of other books shelved ready to tell a story, which could change lives. Books have been a part of my life since a child, and highly recommend “Goodnight June”, as a reminder of where we would be without books, or bookstores--Our children are missing out in so many ways. In addition, a special treat is included at the end-the first chapter of Sarah’s first novel (which I have not read), “The Violets of March” – a Library Journal Best Book of 2011. I look forward to reading it, plus more from this author. (Loved “Morning Glory”)!