Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry WinterI bought this book for the iPad back in the beginning of March because I’d read a few good reviews about online from other bloggers. The story takes place in 2 snow storms on the same date–one in the 1930s, one in modern time. Each chapter switches back and forth. We start with Vera Ray, a resident of Seattle in the 1930s who lives with her 3-year-old son, Daniel. Vera works the night shift as a hotel maid and leaves her son at home during the nights. One night in April, while she’s working at the fancy hotel, an enormous snow storm comes overnight. She make it home, and discovers that Daniel has gone missing–his teddy bear left out in the snow. Her story tracks her trek to find Daniel.

Meanwhile, interspersed in Vera’s story, is the story of Claire, a modern-day journalist living in the same city. Claire is still recovering from losing a child of her own after an accident during pregnancy. When the same type of storm blankets Seattle in snow and ice almost a century later, Claire is put on assignment to cover the similarities between the two storms that both happen in April on the same day in different centuries. Meanwhile, she’s trying to salvage what’s left of her marriage after the lost pregnancy.

Claire discovers the story of Vera Ray and Daniel and sets out on a mission to discover the truth about what happened to this mother and son.

Overall, the book wasn’t as riveting as I’d hoped it would be. I identified better with Claire, as it seemed the Vera character was a parody of what we’d imagine the 1930s life. The story wasn’t driven by much, and the “mystery” seems to be solved with minimal detective work. It was a simple read, but not something I’d recommend. I’m hoping to find a more riveting piece for my next read. Maybe I should buy into some cheap Stephen King. I felt like Sarah Jio tried too hard to be a “big time” novelist/writer, and it just comes off as an amateurish book with a conveniently bow-tied ending.

As much as I complain about authors seeming to just quit at the end and not know how to wrap up, I feel like Sarah Jio spent too much time making sure everything was a happy ending–even to the point of abandoning one of her characters 3/4 of the way through. It was just choppy and not my favorite read. I think I need to go back to my reading list and find something that captures my attention better and is well-written.

Overall assessment, only read this if someone gives it to you for free and you want to waste some mindless time.


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