There’s a reason Sarah Jio is a New York Times bestselling author, and it’s because of just how well she can craft a believable premise and characters tangled within an intense, heart-wrenching story that manages to balance themes of romance and tragedy perfectly.
Her most popular paranormal romance novel, The Violets of March, took the literature world by storm with a fascinating plot centered around a romantic diary that Emily finds in the modern day.
The switching back and forth between the past and present is a writing method seen in many of Jio’s novels as she uses concepts of space and time to grant us a unique view of romance and love while also popularizing a writing style that has become replicated by many other historical romance authors.
With just 11 books released, Sarah Jio has had many of her books published by the New York Times and joined Penguin Random House which has seen her popularity rise astronomically since she started writing her captivating historical tales of love, romance, and mystery (see also “Sarah Addison Allen“).
If you’ve never checked out authors such as Karen White and Natasha Solomons, these are writers that have all put their unique spin on this back-and-forth writing style that Sarah Jio has made so popular, so if you do enjoy her catalog and are hungry for books with similar themes and ideas, here are some of the authors you need to try out for yourself.
Books By Sarah Jio
Rather than having a series of books, all of Sarah Jio’s books are standalone and self-contained, all with their unique characters and narratives, meaning you can pick up whichever one piques your interest.
These 11 standalone books are:
Emily Wilson is shocked to find secret revelations about her own life when she uncovers her Aunt Bee’s diary that she shared with her soldier boyfriend during World War 2.
When Anne Calloway finds a diary that she once shared with her fiancee, she begins to reminisce on her time spent with him on the Pacific Island of Bora-Bora before being redeployed, and never seen again.
When Seattle reporter Clair Aldridge is sent to report on the “blackberry winter” ravaging the city, she quickly learns of a similar storm and an abduction that took place 80 years earlier on that very same day.
Lies, deceit, romance, it’s all here in this chilling romance novel.
Ada Santorini’s houseboat getaway is interrupted when she learns of the previous owner, Penny Wentworth, someone who she has more in common with than initially thought.
Designer Addison begins to find secrets around every corner of the new large and expansive English manor she is sent to work on, uncovering a mystery full of passion and scandals.
June Anderson becomes transfixed about a war-torn romance between her aunt Ruby and a mysterious soldier that took place amidst the chaos of 1940s America.
Hopeless romantic Jane Williams wonders if she will ever feel love when she falls for a man of science who doesn’t believe love even exists.
How can she tell? By using her ability to literally see true love, of course.
A story of a woman struggling to decide how much she is willing to sacrifice for true love as Cade tries to remember her life with a lover from her past.
Two Parisian women realize they are connected after uncovering love letters written during a destroyed 1940s France.
After finding romantic notes shared between a couple in an old novel, librarian Val hunts down all the information she can about a long-forgotten, but very relevant marriage.
Authors Like Sarah Jio
Sarah Jio has a fairly unique way of telling her romance stories, yet still manages to give us readers those enticing themes of secrecy, tragedy, and thought-provoking tales of true love.
Many authors write in a similar style to Jio while putting their unique twist on her formula, here are a few of the best you should check out.
If you’re a fan of the war-torn time period that Sarah Jio uses for a lot of her stories, you definitely need to check out the brilliant work of Natasha Solomon who has several books following a romance flourishing amidst the bullets and bloodshed of war.
Her most popular novel, The House at Tyneford, follows the young and beautiful Elise Landau who realizes on the verge of World War 2 that she is no longer safe being a Jew in Vienna, so she becomes a parlor maid in England and meets the dashing Kit Tyneford, a man who would change her life forever.
In the gripping book titled I, Mona Lisa, Solomons tells a tragic story of affection, deceit, and betrayal through the point of view of Mona Lisa herself, which is the kind of paranormal quirkiness that can be found in many of her stories.
While the historical backdrop and themes of tragic romance are shared between both Solomons and Jio, Solomon does tend to experiment a little more with the fictional elements of her story, which can make them incredibly unique and exciting.
- Very unique storytelling that mixes history, romance, and the supernatural
- Excellent historical context and accuracy
- Very thought-provoking tales of the existence and psychology behind true love
- The pacing of the mysteries can often be very slow
Themes: War, hope, bravery, idealization
If you enjoy the mysterious element of Sarah Jio’s books and the idea of a character stumbling across a diary or a piece of information that uncovers a hidden web of romantic mystery for the protagonist to get thrown into, Karen White writes these types of stories exceptionally well.
The Girls on Legare Street is a perfect example of this when Melanie and Ginnette move to a new manor with the hopes of trying to communicate with spirits using psychic abilities until they encounter a dark and vengeful spirit that leads them down an enthralling romantic tale of ever-relenting love and tragedy.
Karen White is a master of this sort of paranormal mystery when it comes to romance novels, and it can even go quite dark and suspenseful such as in The Strangers on Montagu Street when Nola receives an unwanted invitation into a new family who has been haunting her new house for quite some time.
With secrets, scandals, and demons around every corner, Kate White still manages to add a good amount of romance into many of her books, however, it is the mystery side of things that she excels in.
- Enthralling mysteries with many plot twists
- Stories that are both spooky and romantic
- Writing is easy to follow and understand
- Romance can often seem secondary to the mystery
Themes: Mystery and crime, paranormal, horror and romance
Rekindling a relationship amidst a society that condemns feelings of love is a common theme in many of Sarah Jio’s books that Alyson Richman also excels in writing about, especially in classics such as The Lost Wife which follows two young lovers Lenka and Josef trying to maintain a relationship after being torn apart by Nazi soldiers.
Similar to Sarah Jio, Richman tends to prefer writing her romance stories amidst the carnage and chaos of World War 2 and hones in on how war can affect lovers by separating them.
These themes of love and hope during wartime can also be seen in one of Richman’s other popular novels, The Rhythm of Memory, where a ruthless military dictatorship in Chile tears two young and hopeful students apart as they try to stay together.
- Compelling and emotional focus on themes of love and war
- Great mysteries weaved within the romantic narrative
- Fantastic attention to historical accuracy
- Plenty of time periods
- Secondary characters tend to be fairly one-dimensional
- Rather unsatisfying endings to some of her popular books
Themes: Memory, regret, war, separation, isolation
While there is no doubt Sarah Jio is one of the best authors out there when it comes to mysterious and obscure paranormal romance novels, there are still many other writers who portray their stories similarly and share many of the same narrative techniques while still adding their own unique take to this sub-genre.
If you’re done reading through Jio’s 11 fantastic novels and want something to get stuck into before the new release, try out a few of these paranormal romance writers today.
Frequently Asked Question
When Is Sarah Jio’s Next Book Being Released?
After the release of The Bookshop on Primrose Hill in 2022, Sarah Jio has currently given no word on any new upcoming releases, however considering each of her recent releases has been a best seller and well received by the romance community at large, we can hopefully expect a new novel in the coming year.
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