Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry WinterBlackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

    • ISBN-13: 9780452298385
    • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
    • Publication date: 9/25/2012
    • Pages: 320
    • Source: Netgalley


In 2011, Sarah Jio burst onto the fiction scene with two sensational novels—The Violets of March and The Bungalow. With Blackberry Winter—taking its title from a late-season, cold-weather phenomenon—Jio continues her rich exploration of the ways personal connections can transcend the boundaries of time. 

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.

Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…

My Thoughts:

 Blackberry Winter is a book that is full of personal experience and connection that links the past to the present in remarkable ways.  It all starts with a freak snowstorm in May which is just unheard of until Claire’s editor realizes that there was a twin storm that happened in 1933 on the very same day.  This screams to him that there must be a story about this “blackberry winter.”  He sends Claire off on what she thinks will be a wild goose chase, but what else can she do with her marriage falling apart at the seams.  She starts digging and finds out a missing boy, Daniel, who went missing during that “blackberry winter” storm so many years ago.  Claire feels that she must solve what happened to the boy, even more so because she is feeling the lost of her own child.  Claire feels that the loss of the baby is her fault, she insisted going out for a run late in her pregnancy and was hit by a car.  Things have fallen apart from there and she is sure that her husband is having an affair with his ex-girlfriend who also works at the paper.  Claire uncovers and heals more than anyone could every imagine as she set on solving what happen to Daniel Ray.  

At first, I was not sure about the manner in which this book was written as it was a big confusing.  The story line switches back and forth from the story being told from Claire’s point of view to Vera Ray, Daniel’s mother’s, point of view.  It was a little bit to adjust to story line but then I got to really enjoy it.  I enjoyed the different in manner that the two women posses and how similar their pain was despite the difference in circumstances.  It is a brutally honest and emotional book full of emotional highs and lows.  This is not a book that I would typically read but I am glad that I read this one.  I never saw the ending coming or how much would be exposed.  

The only thing that I would have liked more closure on is what happens in Claire’s lift after the story has unfolded.  What happens to her and her marriage?  Do they heal and move on or do they fall apart?  There are some hints but nothing solid enough for me.

My Rating:

4 Penguins