On an English country estate right before the Second World War, a rare camellia is hidden in an orchard and a flower thief is determined to locate it. However, he can’t enter the estate, so he cajoles a young American woman, Flora, to go undercover as a nanny. Flora is supposed to search for the camellia, but her conscience, the care for the children and a budding romance slow her progress. With increasing pressure from the flower thief, Flora knows she must hurry, but then she finds out about a number of young local women that are missing and a link between one of the women and the estate.
Fifty years later two Americans, Addison and her husband, Rex, arrive at the same estate, but unknown to Rex, Addison wants to leave America to escape a terrible secret from her past that has come back to her. Feeling secure in her new home, Addison explores the estate and discovers Flora, the orchard, and a cryptic gardener’s notebook. Addison is intent on solving the mystery from the past, until she realizes that her own secrets have found her and risk her marriage and her life.
Years may separate Flora and Addison but Flora’s story becomes part of Addsion’s life in The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio. This novel is suspenseful, romantic, and moves back in forth between Flora’s and Addison’s accounts. Jio is the author of numerous books including Blackberry Winter, The Violets of March, and The Bungalow.