Title: Blackberry Winter
Author: Sarah Jio
Release Date: September 25, 2012
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
When Claire Aldridge wakes up to a huge snowstorm in the month of May, she’s shocked. But her shock quickly turns to irritation when she’s assigned a fluff article on the last time snow blanketed her city of Seattle in the month of May - the year 1933. But Claire discovers a new, unresearched angle to this historic snowstorm. A young boy named Daniel went missing during the storm when his mother, Vera, was forced to go to work and leave him at home alone. The case is still unsolved and Claire resolves to find out just what happened to Daniel all those years ago.
Blackberry Winter is a novel with two main characters told in two time periods. Claire makes up the frame of the novel; it’s through her research the story is being told, but Jio also gives Vera a voice. These two women, separated by years and circumstances, are so different, yet have so much in common. Vera is haunted by the disappearance of her son and her desperation to get him back leads her down difficult paths. It’s easy to sympathize with her; she’s a single mother with little means, but her motherly love is fierce and she’s determined to find Daniel.
Claire is also a sympathetic character in Blackberry Winter. She loves her husband, but they’ve drifted apart so much. She can hardly remember being young newlyweds, full of love, though it wasn’t that long ago. From the beginning, it’s clear that Claire has something that’s been eating away at her. Sometimes, her behavior can be frustrating, but once the reader learns the source of her agony and just how it happened, it’s easy to excuse Claire. She’s drowning in so much guilt that she shouldn’t have to bear; the reader will root for her to come to a place of peace and forgive herself.
The course of Blackberry Winter is predictable for the most part, but Jio makes sure she has a couple of twists up her sleeve. The result is a heartwarming book that fans of character driven stories will fall head over heels in love with. These two women absolutely leap off the page for the reader; they are so incredibly realistic and readers will find themselves emotionally engaged in this book from beginning to end.
Other books by Sarah Jio: