Book Review: Blackberry Winter

October 9, 2012 book review, She Reads 3

Written By: Sarah Jio

Published by: Plume/Penguin September 24 2012

Pages: 320 pages

Source: Publisher

In 1933 Seattle, Vera Ray is a working class single mother, she works hard to care for her young son, Danie, and occasionally it means leaving for her job while he sleeps.  Returning home in a bizarre May snowstorm, she is shocked to find her son missing.  Frantic and looking for help she is met with more judgement than help.
When a late spring snow storm occurs in May of 2010 Claire Aldridege is tasked with researching a similar snow storm and uncovers an unsolved and forgotten crime from the past.  What Claire begins to find could upset her marriage and much more in her life.  Claire becomes almost obsessed by learning more about Vera and her son, what was Vera’s life like, what happened to her son, who would want to take him.  Claire and her husband have suffered their own loss, and their marriage is strained at best.  Will her undercover work bring her closer to understanding her own life?

One of the things I believe Sarah Jio does best is write a story from two points of view.  In this latest book she artfully alternates between the voice of Vera and Claire and as a reader I could empathize with both women.  Vera was really a working class woman when the classes were very divided.  She was witness to the haves and the have nots, and naturally she yearned for a different life.  Moving between the classes was not really done, and  she was naive to some of the more seedy realities when trying to find help in searching for Daniel. 
Claire is a woman broken after the loss of a child, her marriage a charade of what it was.  Her husband Ethan has thrown himself into his work, and buying things to ease his pain.  Claire is sad, and yet searching for the answers to this long unsolved crime seems to make her feel alive, important. 

This third book by Sarah Jio only seems to further renew my admiration for her work.  I’ve been loving her books since The Violets of March and The Bungalow.  Her research of the past is so well done, so detailed and eye opening.  How she weaves a story is beautiful, and heart wrenching.  This made me cry several times.  I’ve given this book a  5 out of 5 stars, I loved it!!  If you are a fan of Sarah Pekkanen or Elin Hillderbrand I believe Sarah Jio’s books will pull you in!  Each time I finish one of Sarah’s books I’m a little sad…waiting for the next one. 

Want to see more reviews of Blackberry Winter and more great books….please visit She Reads, where this book is the October Book Club Selection.

3 Responses to “Book Review: Blackberry Winter”

  1. Zibilee

    I have heard that although there are some predictable parts in this book, it’s a good read, and I am interested in grabbing it when I can. It sounds excellent, and like something I would like. Great review today, Anita!

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