|Published by Penguin Group (USA)|
September 25th 2012
By coincidence a freak storm in Seattle in May 1933 heralds the opening of this lovely book about two women who are separated by time but who have a common purpose. Single mother Vera leaves her three year old son Daniel home alone so that she can go to work a night shift at the local hotel. The following morning after severe snowstorm has covered the city, she returns home to find that Daniel has gone. Vera is not an unfit mother; she’s just a woman struggling to make ends meet during the hardest of times. Similarly in 2010, Seattle is facing another of unexpected snow storm, and newspaper reporter Claire Aldridge is assigned to cover this phenomenon known as ‘Blackberry Winter’, and at the same time strives to uncover the story of what happens to Vera and her boy.
The novel sensitively and emotionally explores the story of Vera and Claire, and as the narrative flows back and forth through time, the gradual layering of the thoughts and feelings of both women are perceptively revealed. Sarah Jio is without doubt an accomplished author; she has a lovely lyrical way of writing which is so easy to read, and yet she can command a myriad of emotions in just a few sentences. I stayed up long and late to finish this story as once I started to read, I found I just couldn't give it up until I had found out just a little bit more.
For me the sign of a good story is when the characters stay with you long after the book is finished; I think that Blackberry Winter is one such story.
My thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Group USA for an e-copy of Blackberry Winter to read and review.