From the back cover: 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…
In Blackberry Winter, Sarah Jio gives us a very bond-able heroine in Claire Aldridge. Claire is good, she’s kind, but she’s wounded–just the sort of gal we women-type like relating to. Jio sets Claire and the rest of her cast of compelling characters in Seattle–which happens to be Jio’s hometown and mine. I loved the way Jio paints our beautiful corner of the world, both present day and eighty years ago. Her prose is no frills, yet soft and inviting, and for time it took me to read this lovely book (which also has one of the prettiest covers on my shelf), I enjoyed inhabiting her story world.
Blackberry Winter starts strong, pulling the reader right into the heart of the story, but I felt some of the middle portions stretched credibility. The pace also slows a bit for Claire’s visit to an old friend on Bainbridge Island; the purpose of this chapter seems to be more about connecting Blackberry Winter to Jio’s The Violets of March and doesn’t contribute a great deal to the story. All the same, Jio throws in some satisfying twists toward the end and her final, heart-tugging pages contains a wonderfully poignant conclusion.
4/5 stars, lovely and likeable
Thanks to Plume for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All expressed opinions are mine.