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Blackberry Winter: A Novel by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Sarah Jio

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3714229,183 (3.92)20
Title:Blackberry Winter: A Novel
Authors:Sarah Jio
Info:Plume (2012), Edition: 1 Original, Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio (2012)

  1. 10
    The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman (dara85)
    dara85: This takes place in the past (1930's), a child is taken and goes to live with another family, involves a crime

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Very good and enjoyable story. Looking forward to reading another one of her stories. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
A crazy snowstorm blankets Seattle in May, but it's not the first time. A fluke snowstorm fell in May of 1933 too and the editor of The Herald wants Claire Aldridge to write a feature article about the May storms--about Blackberry Winter.

During Claire's research of the storm of '33, she finds a newspaper article about Vera and her three year old son who went missing. Vera was a young maid at a high end hotel and had left her son home alone at night while she worked. Authorities believed her three year old, Daniel, ran away during the snowstorm. Claire doesn't believe it for a minute and wonders what happened to Daniel? Were mother and son ever reunited?

Claire's own life is in shambles, but this story seems to ignite a fire in her she thought was gone. Can she solve the mystery? Can there be a happily ever after? Can Claire find her way again?

Once again Sarah Jio proves she has the amazing ability to transport her readers into not one, but two stories in two different times. I fell in love with poor Vera. A young mother alone in the world struggling to make ends meet. As I read along, I was cheering Claire on wanting her to hurry and solve the mystery of Daniel. I wanted a happy reunion! It wasn't just me who wanted the mystery solved, but it was as if Mother Nature herself was demanding resolution with the return of the Blackberry Winter. I fell in love with poor Vera. A young mother alone in the world struggling to make ends meet. As I read along, I was cheering Claire on wanting her to hurry and solve the mystery of Daniel. I wanted a happy reunion! It wasn't just me who wanted the mystery solved, but it was as if Mother Nature herself was demanding resolution with the return of the Blackberry Winter. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
When in Seattle, on May 2nd, a rare late snowstorm known as a “Blackberry Winter” strikes, Claire is assigned a feature story on the last “Blackberry Winter” on May 2, 1933. As she investigates, we also go back in time as this is two stories; one of Claire, whose marriage is struggling one year after the tragic loss of her child, and the other of Vera, whose three year old son Daniel went missing in that late snowstorm in 1933, his teddy bear dropped in the snow. As Claire unravels what she can of the unsolved, and for the most part, ignored, disappearance of Vera’s son, she is forced not only to face her own life in a new way, but to find out how she and Vera’s past are linked.

This novel was written as well as the other book I read by Sarah Jio, [book:Morning Glory|17707679] that I gave 4.5 stars to. And while this is definitely a different pair of tales than the other, both involve the loss of children, grief and tragedy, I think I read this too soon after the other. If you are a Sarah Jio fan and haven’t read this, or if you’ve never read anything by her, it’s worth a read if you like this sort of story with a mystery but that is not something that fits under the mystery genre per se, but is more mainstream. This novel was an instant best seller, and she won an award for a novel I have not read. ( )
  Karin7 | Mar 12, 2016 |
Basically, this is the story of a woman reporter, Claire, who has lost a child and is trying to find her way out of grief. What finally helps is delving into a 1933 mystery about the disappearance of a three-year-old boy.

I struggled at first with the slow sadness of this book; we follow a modern-day woman dealing with the loss of her child and a failing marriage alternating with the story of Vera, a single mother who is trying to survive during the Depression and then loses her son. This is not an upbeat book, but it is heartfelt and has lovely moments of truth.

I questioned a few of the actions and/or reactions of characters and whether they ring true (but don't want to list them or give away story lines), but I've decided they are more than plot devices. They're more part of the theme, that, as in real life, we humans don't always do what we should do or even what we'd normally do. We can't always trust what we've heard or assume. In fact, Claire's questions that should have been asked before about someone else's life, are her first steps towards her own healing process.

There were also more coincidences than we'd find in normal life, but that is often what makes for a full story and appropriate in this case with an experienced reporter uncovering clues.

The bottom line was I cared about what happened to these characters, wanted to keep reading to find out more, and experienced love and loss with them. ( )
  Connie-D | Jan 17, 2016 |
Blackberry Winter weaves together two different tales of heartbreak. The story alternates between two Seattle women, Vera in 1933 and Claire in 2010. In May of 1933, in the midst of a late winter storm, single mother Vera Ray must go to her job at the Olympic hotel and leave her three year old son Daniel, alone. She doesn't want to leave him but they are behind on their rent and she can't afford to lose her job. When she returns, Daniel is missing. The only clue to his disappearance is his tiny stuffed bear, Max, abandoned in the snow. Vera calls the police and searches everywhere but she cannot find him.

Newspaper journalist, Claire, is given an assignment to write about the “Blackberry Winter” Seattle is experiencing in 2010. A Blackberry Winter refers to a very late snowstorm. Claire recently lost her baby during the eighth month of pregnancy and is still suffering from depression. Researching the last late winter storm in 1933 she finds the story of the missing little boy. Claire then begins her search for what happened back in 1933.

The stories are beautifully interwoven. The author did a great job of conveying the heartbreak of both Vera and Claire. The characters were well developed and interesting. I found the Vera story much more compelling than the Claire story until the final quarter of the book.

On the negative side, there were so many coincidences and connections between all the characters that just seemed too unbelievable. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the story and I kept reading because I desperately wanted to know what happened to Daniel. Overall an enjoyable mystery and historical fiction story in one novel.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452298385, Paperback)


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...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:07 -0400)

"Seattle, 1933. Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, good night and reluctantly leaves for work. She hates the night shift, but it's the only way she can earn enough to keep destitution at bay. In the morning--even though it's the second of May--a heavy snow is falling. Vera rushes to wake Daniel, but his bed is empty. His teddy bear lies outside in the snow. Seattle, present day. On the second of May, Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge awakens to another late-season snowstorm. Assigned to cover this "blackberry winter" and its predecessor decades earlier, Claire learns of Daniel's unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth--only to discover that she and Vera are linked in unexpected ways"--… (more)

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