cover image With Love from London

With Love from London

Sarah Jio. Ballantine, $17 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-1-101-88508-6

Jio (All the Flowers in Paris) unfurls an extraordinary and heartfelt tale that will stay with readers long after the final page is turned. When divorced librarian Valentina “Val” Baker inherits a London bookstore from her late estranged mother, Eloise, she leaves Seattle for a fresh start in England. Val has always been told that Eloise abandoned her when she was 12, but as the story—which toggles between Val’s present and Eloise’s past—evolves, both Val and the reader learn the story she grew up believing was a lie. As a young woman, Eloise was caught in a love triangle and only accepted a proposal from Frank, Val’s father, whom she did not love, because she was pregnant. After a miscarriage, the pair had Val, but Frank’s jealousy destroyed any chance Val and Eloise had of a relationship. Val discovers this history via a scavenger hunt her mother has set up for her through clues left in all her favorite books—and along the way she finds a love of her own. Jio’s expert characterization makes Eloise’s heartbreak, sacrifice, and love for her daughter palpable, and her masterful plotting will keep readers guessing until the end. This is sure to tug on readers’ heartstrings. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Book Group. (Feb.)