Read Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio Online


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.SeSeattle, 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....

Title : Blackberry Winter
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781469217635
Format Type : Audio CD
Number of Pages : 195 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Blackberry Winter Reviews

  • Sarah Jio
    2019-02-27 10:31

    This is a very special novel to me. I dedicated it to my three young sons, and to mothers everywhere who have lost children. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it! xo

  • Jessica
    2019-03-05 04:06

    Hmm - hard to review this book. I liked the story - I read it quickly - and I wanted to know what happened. But the whole thing read to me like a soap opera. The characters all seemed cliched to me, and sort of one note. The dialogue was overblown - people don't really talk like that - especially from the older characters in the book. The actions of the characters didn't always ring true, or seem believable, and sometimes small details didn't track, which was distracting. The whole thing just seemed overly dramatic, and romanticized. And the main character has suffered a trauma - to which she alludes in the first few pages, this isn't a spoiler - but she dances around it and hints at it for many chapters. Why not just explain what happened? I found that really annoying. In the book, she's our narrator, and we're experiencing her story. It doesn't make sense that we don't get to know what happened to her until we're halfway in. I don't know if it was supposed to be suspenseful, but to me it was frustrating and made it harder for me to understand her POV - it kept me outside of her and her story for a while. This reminded me a little of The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. Actually, my reaction to the writing was similar, but the stories/framework are also kind of similar, too. That was another book that was very well reviewed, which I didn't love. I wasn't sorry I read either of these books, but I found the writing itself to be distracting and a little annoying... which doesn't make for a great reading experience.

  • Kait
    2019-02-26 09:14

    I was so frustrated with this novel that I often wonder how I had the drive to finish it. As other astute reviewers have noted, this is no more than a lifetime movie put on paper using high school-level writing. Everything was so conveniently positioned in the "uncovering" of her "mystery" from the people she randomly meets- to the secret briefcase in the secret room that conveniently contains the precise papers she needs. (Side rant: this is an infuriatingly feeble attempt at emulating a case file interview). Aside from all the coincidences that are responsible for the plots progression, I have never read the word "said" (ie. "She said," "He said," "I said.") so many times in one story. It's as if she didn't want to waste her time thinking of another word. So where did she spend her time? It certainly wasn't on proofreading her own work. There were so many grammatical and sloppy errors in this book it was actually atrocious. Examples? 1. "Thomas" is said to be younger than Warren (Warren says this himself), this is actually IMPOSSIBLE if "Thomas" was supposed to be Daniel. Daniel was born in 1930. When Daniel went missing in 1933, Warren was just conceived. That would have made Daniel/Thomas 3 YEARS OLDER than Warren. I actually cringed when Claire reflected on this and uttered in amazement, "The dates calculated perfectly." No Sarah, they actually don't. My second example, and my favorite, is on pg. 154. It is a chapter labeled "Vera," making her the first person narrative voice. This must have slipped the author's mind three pages later (when Charles and Vera are in his car): "That came out wrong," he SAID. "I don't mean to imply that she disapproves of you, CLAIRE...." UHHH, I'm sorry but unless Claire conveniently met someone with a time machine and teleported back 80 years to insert herself in that conversation (which is completely possible considering how helpful everyone is in this story), unless that happened, Jio made an outstanding mistake. Although to be fair, I think this entire novel was a mistake. F -

  • Vaso
    2019-03-13 08:31

    Με αφορμή μια χιονισμένη πρωτομαγιά του τώρα και του παρελθόντος, η Κλέρ ανακαλύπτει την εξαφάνιση ενός παιδιού και πασχίζει να ανακαλύψει τι συνέβη.Μέσω της έρευνας που κανει, αναπροσδιοριζει και η ίδια τη ζωή της και αποδέχεται τις καταστάσεις και πλέον είναι έτοιμη να τις αφήσει στο παρελθόν.Η ιστορία είναι καλοδουλεμένη, οι χαρακτήρες σωστά δομημένοι και ανεπτυγμένοι και φυσικά έχει το λυτρωτικό τέλος που της αρμόζει.

  • Jonetta
    2019-02-21 05:31

    This story intricately weaves the events surrounding the disappearance of a 3-year old boy (Daniel Ray) in 1933 with a journalist's (Claire Aldridge) search for answers in present day. There's a somewhat mystical element in how seemingly unrelated situations converge to help unravel the mystery. The transitions were done skillfully, using Claire's journey as a means for her to confront and face her own paralyzing grief. I really enjoyed how the story was presented as much as the actual tale. The realities of the divide between the wealthy and poor during the Depression era was realistic and enlightening. It's an interesting story with other very strong themes that give it weight.

  • Kelly Roll
    2019-02-25 06:26

    While other readers will probably enjoy the story it just wasn't my cup of tea. I felt that the characters were somewhat one dimensional and I felt no rapport with any of them. I think if more back story had been given I might have been more intrigued. In some instances I felt that the characters reactions where unrealistic. One case in point is that Vera is willing to sleep with a gentleman of ill repute but with a certain amount of influence as she hopes he will help her find her son. However, after a very brief meeting with the father of her son she is unwilling to press her case and have him help her find the boy.While she may have been afraid of ruining his life by telling Charles that the boy was his she could have avoided doing so but still prevailed upon his kindness and their past association. In all likelihood he would have helped her. I had actually assumed that her lover was dead as the author emphasized how in love he was with Vera and yet he made no attempt to find her or persuade her to stay with him in spite of their differences after Vera tells him she must leave him. Finally I also felt that clues were presented far too conveniently, drawings and pictures cropped up with seemingly no effort, one individual just happens to know someone who turns out to be the childhood friend of the kidnapped boy, Claire just happens to go to the coffee shop that was the former residence of Vera etc.

  • Barbara
    2019-03-13 05:11

    When a late spring snowstorm (called a blackberry winter) hits Seattle in May 2010, Claire Aldridge - a feature writer for the Seattle Herald - is asked to write a story comparing the whiteout to a similar event that occurred in May 1933. After researching the historical storm Claire decides to focus her article on Daniel Ray - a three-year-old boy who disppeared during the depression era snowfall.Daniel's mother, Vera Ray, barely eked out a living as a maid at Seattle's Olympic Hotel. Unable to take Daniel along when she worked the night shift, Vera was forced to leave the sleeping child at home. On the night of May 1st, snow blanketed the city and - with public transportation out of commission - Vera trudged all the way home in the morning ---- to find Daniel gone. Distraught, Vera ran through the streets calling for Daniel - and asking pedestrians if they'd seen him - but all she found was the child's teddy bear. Vera went to the police, but they were dismissive, suggesting that Daniel had run away. (Can you imagine. A three-year-old child?) Poverty-ridden and powerless, Vera had to look for Daniel herself. Things soon went from bad to worse when Vera was evicted from her apartment for inability to pay the rent and lost her job for taking too many days off (looking for Daniel). A wealthy resident of the Olympic Hotel offered to help Vera, but there were strings attached. (Ick!!)The book has two alternating story lines: Claire's life in the present and Vera's life in the past.We learn that Claire and her husband Ethan experienced a tragedy a year ago that put an enormous strain on their relationship. Both spouses are suffering but Claire is completely unable to get past the event, which haunts her. To add to the problem, Claire is annoyed that Ethan - the Seattle Herald's editor-in-chief - goes to restaurants with the newspaper's attractive food critic.....presumably as part of his job. Claire has also become obsessed with discovering what happened to little Daniel, and her investigation takes her to various parts of the city. All this leads the reporter to spend too much time away from home; become overly friendly with a helpful (and handsome) café owner/barista; neglect an important family event; avoid Ethan's phone calls; and generally behave badly (IMO). It seems like Claire is on track to completely wreck her marriage.In flashbacks to the past, we find that - before Daniel was born - Vera met a dashing blueblood named Charles, who swept her off her feet. Charles' family didn't approve of Vera, and predictable consequences ensued. The author paints a clear picture of Vera's destitute lifestyle: threadbare clothing; holes in her shoes; insufficient food; rough neighborhood; libidinous smelly landlord; and so on. It made me angry for Vera, who worked hard to make a home for herself and her son.... but was disrespected by 'rich people' and blown off by the police.As Claire is researching young Daniel's disappearance she visits the Rays' old Seattle apartment and talks to people who remember the events of 1933. This leads to a series of serendipitous discoveries - photos, drawings, papers - that eventually reveal what happened to the child. As you might expect, the Claire and Vera story lines converge as the book approaches it climax. For me this romantic suspense novel is overly contrived. Sarah Jio writes well, and a story about a missing child is always compelling. However, the book has far too many 'happy coincidences' and the fairy tale ending seems more like a Disney movie than real life. Still, fans of 'happily ever after' would probably love this book. You can follow my reviews at

  • Sharon
    2019-02-17 09:33

    Vera Ray works hard and long hours at her hotel cleaning job in Seattle, but working comes at a cost when she is forced to leave her three year old son, Daniel at home alone. One morning she returns home after a tiring shift to find, Daniel's bed empty. Frantically, Vera searches everywhere for Daniel, but it seems he can't be found anywhere. Has Daniel wandered off or has someone taken him?Claire is a newsreporter who has a troubled marriage and a past that still haunts her. A strange snowstorm hits Seattle and Claire is assigned to write a story on a similar storm that hit Seattle in the 1930's. Whilst investigating the story, Claire comes across the unsolved case of Vera and her missing son. Claire starts to dedicate a lot of her time to this case in the hope of finding out what really happened to, Daniel. But it seems, Claire may have more in common with this case than she ever imagined.I really enjoyed this book. This is the first book I've read by Sarah Jio and I'm looking forward to reading more of her books. A captivating story about love and loss. Highly recommended.

  • elaynne
    2019-02-19 05:17

    Borrowed from the Pikes Peak Library DistrictI can NOT remember what compelled me to borrow this book - not just borrow it but I wait-listed it. All I can say is UGH. I need to stop reading books that I know are NOT in my favorite genres. This is one. Pathetic and predictable. I read some reviews that marveled at the "twist ending" but I saw it coming a mile away.The main character and her husband are falling apart from each other in a landslide kind of way. She lost her baby while jogging when she was EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT because she was hit by a car. Really? Just REALLY? Anyway, she harbors a lot of guilt about it (damn straight) and pushes her husband toward his former girlfriend while all the while, she's accepting comfort from another man who is interested in her EVEN THOUGH HE KNOWS SHE'S MARRIED! While all of this is going on, as a reporter, she's trying to get to the bottom of a story about a child who went missing decades earlier when a major snow storm hit Seattle in May. Another similar snowstorm recently hit and her boss (who happens to work for her HUSBAND, who is the BIG boss of the newspaper), wants her to find a story that can tie the two storms together. The missing child angle is intriguing and probably the only redeeming storyline in the book.Anyway, as you can tell, I didn't really like the book. I wouldn't recommend it unless you had absolutely nothing else to read and were desperate. Even then, I'd hedge.

  • Roxanne
    2019-02-28 09:15

    This book was abysmal! The only reason I'm giving it 2 stars instead of one is because I actually read to the end - I'll save the 1 star rating for books I don't finish. Let's start off with what initially attracted me to "Blackberry Winter". I love the cover, and the blurb on the back sounded interesting. I was expecting an intelligent read with everything I've come to expect from that genre that Amazon calls "Literary Fiction". I guess that's why I shouldn't judge a book by its cover!What else did I like about this book? Not much. I guess I kept reading because I wanted to find out what happened to Daniel Ray, the three year old boy who went missing in 1933. If that was not part of the plot, I probably would have stopped reading after Chapter 7, where we meet Charles, Vera Ray's love interest.Here's where we get into what I didn't like about this book. (The list is long, so grab a coffee or something!) Charles is so good, he makes me want to puke! At first I thought the author must be yanking my chain. I mean, what young, rich man wants to trade his life with a bus boy during the Great Depression so he can be free? Blech, seriously??? I just did not buy it. And the fact that he fell in love with Vera at first sight? Come on. Why? Was she pretty, or smart? I honestly don't know what her appeal was, except that she was poor and maybe Charles was looking for some variety, but they really didn't have any chemistry. It was basically, "Hi, being rich is overrated, you're poor but cute, let's dance, I love you." For real. If you think I'm exaggerating, pick this book up, flip to chapter seven, and see if you don't gag. I dare you!I hated, absolutely HATED, all the coincidences and parallel situations between Claire and Vera's lives! This aspect of the book was so overdone, I actually laughed! Out loud!!! Like:- Vera is poor and working class. Claire is from a working class background.- Vera's little boy was abducted. Claire lost her baby in a tragic accident.- Vera falls in love with a rich young man. Claire falls in love with a rich young man.- Charles gives Vera a sapphire bracelet. Ethan gives Claire a sapphire bracelet.- Charles's sister is a mega bitch. Ethan's sister is a mega bitch.- Vera lived in a building where Claire now goes for coffee every day.- Vera goes for a sandwich at Pike Place Market. And, you got it, Claire goes for the same stinkin' sandwich at the same stinkin' diner! I am not even kidding!And don't get me started on the blackberry vines!The whole plot was completely unrealistic. I'm not saying that I have to read books with realistic plots, I've been known to enjoy paranormal books, dystopian books, and even fantasy books where the plot is anything but realistic. But I was expecting that this book would be at least somewhat believable. I'll give you a couple of examples of what I'm talking about:- Claire gets hit by a car and her unborn child is killed. Believable, yes, it could happen. What I didn't believe is that nobody went after the driver of the car. Seriously? If that happened to me, I'd be after retribution, big time! - Everybody that Claire interviews about her story is so freakin' nice! Like the elderly lady who invites her over to her million dollar home to snoop around. "Oh, you didn't find anything? Here, dear, let me show you into the top secret compartment! Oh, you want my father's briefcase that he brought to work everyday and probably has extreme sentimental value for me? Okay, just make sure you bring it back, dear." Give me a break!Argh, just thinking about it pisses me off! I could go on and on about the crap in this book, but to wrap it up, let me just say that if you want a book where you're beat over the head with impossibilities every page, go for it. If not, stay far, far away!

  • Kayla Ashley
    2019-02-21 02:11

    I won this book from a first reads giveaway here on goodreads!I was so excited when I found out I won a copy of this book through the first reads program here on goodreads! I was even more excited once I started reading this book and got swept up in the amazing mystery! This book was an amazing read that did not disappoint. This book alternates between two points of view: Vera in the 1930's and Claire in present day Seattle. Sarah Jio is an excellent storyteller - she weaves together two different stories effortlessly. I loved switching points of view and putting the pieces together; watching the stories connect as each chapter progressed.Vera's story was absolutely heartbreaking - my poor heart seriously ached for her. I could not imagine ever having to go through such an awful ordeal. Claire, our present day narrator: a journalist who is told to write a story about the recent snow storm in May or the "blackberry winter", is also going through her own tragedy and my heart ached for her as well. I loved watching Claire unravel Vera's mystery and help heal her heart by solving Vera's own heartbreak. I don't want to give too much away because I always find books better when there's surprises at every corner. Let me just say, this book is no ordinary mystery. This is a great story for mothers who enjoy mysteries, although I would recommend it to anyone. It's heartbreaking though, so you might need some tissues on hand!

  • Skip
    2019-03-20 05:12

    Lovely, evocative writing by Sarah Jio, who weaves together two stories, with a freak Seattle snowstorm in May as the tying element. In 1933, single mom Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and goes to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She returns home to find her son missing. In 2010, Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, is assigned to write about the current storm and learns of the prior storm and the unsolved abduction. Claire doggedly pursues the story despite the potential personal loss it may entail.Jio manages to alternate chapters seamlessly between Vera Ray in 1933 and Claire Aldridge in 2010, portraying each time period quite well, but linking the stories in several ways, not just the two stories of love between a wealthy Seattle man and a woman from lesser means.

  • Van Krishna
    2019-02-18 03:15

    I'm grateful to goodreads, for without it, I don't think I would have discovered this masterpiece. You know how sometimes you find a title so intriguing that you can't help but read the synopsis (even if it's not in your favorite genre) and out of no where, you find yourself reading the book? Wondering if the book would deliver on it's premise because you've done this've tried to assuage your curiosity and you were let down? But when it does deliver, you never look at the genre the same way again...never look at life the same way again? Well, this is one of those novels. :) Being a guy, in his mid-twenties, I didn't think I could relate to this novel as much as say, a mother would, but I was wrong. Sarah laid out so much depth and emotion in both Vera Ray's and Claire Aldridge's characters that it's almost impossible to look at it from an outsider's perspective. You feel their pain. Now, there weren't a lot of laugh-out-loud moments (I love humor) and the plot was slightly predictable at times. Having said that, I'm inclined to believe that it was more of a conscious decision, considering the complexity of the plot (altering view points and the generation gap).Bottom line? Great read! Would definitely recommend it.

  • Bonnie
    2019-03-17 09:13

    Blackberry Winter was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Penguin Group (USA). Two stories with years separating them are more intertwined than one might think…May 1, 1933...Vera Ray works the nightshift as a maid at a hotel in Seattle. A snow storm has blown in during the night; strange with how late in the year it is. When she kisses her three year old son Daniel goodbye she doesn't know that when she returns he won't be there waiting for her. 'Two snowstorms, sharing one calendar date, separated by nearly a century...'May 2, 2010...Claire wakes to find snow is falling in Seattle. Snow this late in the year is known as a Blackberry Winter and it rarely happens, but this happened once before many, many years ago. Vera's story was one of immense sorrow: the loss of her only child. The obvious pain she suffers as a result was vivid and heartbreaking. The story switches back and forth between past and present but I was most intrigued by this back story, the mystery surrounding it, and how we’re slowly given bits and pieces of the puzzle. The mystery itself may have been a bit coincidental at times but didn't end up diminishing my overall (positive) opinion. Claire is also living her own heartbreak as her relationship with her husband is crumbling and she doesn’t have any idea where to start to fix it. It was hard accepting Claire’s reluctance to work at her relationship at first until you find out the bigger picture regarding why their relationship started to crumble in the first place. A definite page-turner and one that I enjoyed immensely. Blackberry Winter is a heartwarming story that at first glance appears to be hidden under a mountain of sadness with no hope in sight. As the story continues, the two stories slowly start coming together, questions become answered, and realization dawns at the immensity of what occurred so many years ago.

  • Noeleen
    2019-03-06 07:23

    Blackberry Winter has a little bit of everything, historical fiction, mystery and romance. The story is told from two different time periods, that of a young single mother Vera and her son Daniel in Seattle in 1933 during the Great Depression and Claire Aldridge, a reporter in Seattle in 2010. The ‘blackberry winter’ which occurred in both 1933 and 2010 leads Claire to uncover the story of Daniel’s disappearance when he was three years old.This is a quick and easy read. The prose is light and engaging and the plot is one which sucks you in right from the beginning with some twists along the way that I didn’t expect. There were some coincidences in the book which I felt were a little convenient and far-fetched but they didn’t alter my enjoyment of the overall story in any way. I enjoyed the story immensely and could forgive these slight flukes. The format of the book, which alternates between the two time periods is one which I really enjoy in books and it worked particularly well for this book. With this format, I find many times that I enjoy one era of the story over the other, but on this occasion I was interested in both Vera and Claire’s stories equally. It was a very sad book at times with both characters trying to deal with their personal grief after the loss of a child.This is my first time to read a book by Sarah Jio and I will definitely read more of her novels. I really enjoyed this book and the story kept me interested throughout. If you are looking for a book whereby you can just curl up for a few hours and totally get lost in the story, Blackberry Winter is ideal and I would recommend it.

  • Annie-Rose
    2019-03-16 08:25

    Blackberry Winter was recommended to me. I tried Sarah Jio's first book, and didn't care for her writing, but thought I'd give her another try. It was a quick read, and I finished it, which pretty good for how little I actually enjoyed it.This is a mystery with very little mystery. Every clue or new piece of information seemed to be such a coincidence, but each "twist" and "turn" was really predictable. The characters the protagonist meets are too convenient to helping her in her story - she jumps from one realization to the next without actually really having to work or think. She just gets referred from one person to the next until all is revealed to her. The book is based on a series of coincidences and a lot of luck. Without either, the protagonist would have been spinning in circles, likely crying.When she tried to create a scene that was light-hearted, or funny, (which is the role the protagonist's best friend was supposed to play) it came off as cheesy, clunky, and unnatural. The cliche critique of the wealthy and entire theme of the book being poor vs. rich also got old. There are plenty of well-written books about the plight of the poor that don't spell it out so obviously and simply, citing each time a person with any money does something terrible, or would do something terrible, and contrasting it with a person with little means doing something wonderful or having a good heart. It's as if the author believes the reader is too stupid to pick up on what she is trying to say. Conveying the same point of view is very possible without the dozens of examples of this stereotype sprinkled in each chapter of this book.The book's only saving grace was that it read quickly. If it was slow-moving, I would never have made it all the way through.

  • Raquel
    2019-02-20 03:11

    Interesting story, although it tied up a bit too neatly/preciously at the end and the ending seemed quite rushed. (Deadline?) I enjoyed the parallel narratives of the two women and liked the slow unfolding of the mystery and the revelation of how the two women's lives intertwined. I can't give it a higher rating though because the quality of the writing is not great. Phrases along the lines of, "Love oozed from their every fingertip" are pretty bad. Some of the characters seemed a little flat. Certain coincidences seemed a little too handy. And the long, drawn-out allusion to Claire's tragedy was unnecessary. I guessed almost immediately what had happened to her to cause her such pain and to stress her marriage, so continually alluding to it and drawing it out as a "mystery" instead of just stating from the start was more annoying than enticing. Knowing right away rather than dragging it out would have helped me relate to and like Claire immediately. Instead, I was like, just freakin' tell us what it is already. Her husband's character was absolutely flat. I felt nothing about him at all and wish I could have understood him better. He was painted as so distant and unpleasant I couldn't imagine why they'd bothered marrying in the first place, as she tells us so little about why they fell in love and married. Would have enjoyed more back story to make him more real.Not a bad way to whittle away a few hours. Entertaining but fluffy; mediocre.

  • Britany
    2019-03-13 10:27

    What a quick read!! I became immersed in this book, and finished within a few days. I actually finished reading during lunch at work one day and had to try to control my emotions over frozen ravioli! Vera Ray is struggling as a single mother to doe eyed baby Daniel. It's the 1930s and she goes to work one snowy night in May leaving Daniel home asleep in his bed, only to come home and find him missing. What happened to Daniel?Present day- the city of Seattle is having another Blackberry Winter a late season snowstorm, and Claire Aldridge is coming off her own tragedy. Throwing herself into her job- a reporter for the local newspaper- her boss gives her a story of finding Daniel Ray. The two stories alternate back and forth until they finally converge into one. For some reason, I didn't guess the ending and found it wonderfully satisfying. This was exactly what I needed right now. Perfect time for a wonderful book.

  • Melodie
    2019-02-27 02:16

    First of all, the title and the cover are amazing. Honestly that is what compelled me to add this to my to-read list. Beauty and simplicity go a long way. Of course, reading the synopsis sucked me in the rest of the way. Spanning an eighty year period, this is the tale of two women who experienced a rare weather phenomenon called a blackberry winter.I had no idea there was such a thing, but basically it is a rare very late spring snow storm. In this story,it occurred in Seattle in late May. Vera Ray tells her story retrospectively, a young woman born into and living in poverty during the Great Depression. A single mother,scraping by working as a maid in the grand Olympic Hotel, she feels invisible to the monied hotel patrons she serves. Faced with the loss of her job if she doesn't show up for a late night shift, she leaves her three year old son asleep in his bed. That act sets off a chain of events with repercussions that span the next eighty years. Claire Kensington is a reporter for the Seattle Herald. She is also married to the grandson of the paper's owner. Having recovered from a horrible accident the previous year, she struggles with an inertia of emotion that is affecting her marriage and her career. When a freak snowstorm hits, her editor gives her the assignment write a feature article connecting this storm and the storm that hit in 1933. This was a very nice triangle of mystery, romance and historical/social commentary. The characters were sympathetic, the mystery kept the reader guessing and the stark delineation between the haves and the have-nots serve as a reminder to this reader that over the past eighty years we may have not come so far after all in our society.

  • Amy
    2019-02-25 06:20

    **SPOILER ALERT** The story started out well. I like how it was 2 different stories that were merging & it was fun that it was set in Seattle. But it ended up being predictable and too cookie-cutter. Vera Ray & Daniel's story was interesting and it was easy to fall in love with Daniel. But how their story connected with Claire's was interesting but too corny at the same time. I personally think it would've been upsetting after all the long hours of research Claire did to then realize that her grandfather-in-law ends is Daniel, would have been upsetting. Since he was aware of her researching this story and his particular interest in it to not tell her who he was, I would've been frustrated and upset that he didn't tell me. Especially after he says he's paid PI's to search for him. I think if they'd worked as a team, Claire would've been able to connect the stories way earlier.Plus, how her marital struggles are suddenly all peachy, was lame. I didn't find it realistic. I think all that they both went thru there would need to be some counseling to work thru their emotions and how they each dealt with their own grief.The ending was the tipping point. When Warren, aka Daniel, buys the coffee shop...too predictable and surface level, unrealistic in how things all perfectly came together at the end.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-24 07:31

    I was really looking forward to reading this book; the reviews I read were positive and the "blurbs" I read were enticing. However, once I started reading, I was quickly disenchanted. In my opinion, the writing and dialogue was amateurish. Events fell together too neatly to be believable and plot lines were too neatly wrapped up. When I was approximately one half of the way through the book, I wasn't sure I could finish; however, I did keep going and finished the book. I'm glad I know how everything was resolved, but I would not recommend that you buy this book. Check it out from your local library instead.

  • Ana
    2019-03-09 04:15

    Somewhere between 4-4.5/5. Feel like some questions remained unanswered & the mystery part could've been executed better in my opinion. But it's a very emotional book & Ms Jio pulled this off very well, even made me cry at the end.

  • Laura Kay Bolin
    2019-02-22 06:32 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.Claire too has suffered a devastating loss. Her marriage is on the brink. For the first time in a long while, Emily begins to come alive but it just might be too late for her old life.If you read Sarah’s first book The Violets of March, you’ll be as thrilled as I was to learn Emily and Jackson make an appearance in Blackberry Winter. While reading, I had numerous “goosebump” moments! Love those. By the end of Blackberry Winter I wasn’t crying…I was sobbing. I was truly touched. Not only is Blackberry Winter my new favorite book by Sarah Jio, it’s my new all time favorite book. I love how I felt so connected to these characters. I really can’t imagine someone not loving this book. I wish I didn’t have so many other books to read, because I want to sit down and read it again.

  • Diane
    2019-03-02 06:32

    The author of this book wrote to me to tell me my review was of the wrong book. She is absolutely correct. I am not a seasoned computer user and the review I wrote for this book was really for Whatever Happened to Sophie Wilder? I am so sorry for the confusion. This book - Blackberry Winter -- is on my list to be read.Well, now I have finally read it. The story has a parallel plot of two women, one who lived in 1933 and one who lives in the present. They both experience a Blackberry Winter. The term refers to unseasonable weather, in this case, snow in Seattle in May. Initially, I found the story a page turner as the unknown connection about the two was slowly revealed. But the plot ultimately was too contrived and lacked character development. I can't say it was a completely satisfying read. A chic beach book at best.

  • Jen Tucker
    2019-02-24 10:33

    I was so moved by this brilliantly executed novel by Sarah Jio, that I read it in one setting. Unfortunately for me, this reading session began at 2AM, so if you have insomnia and are trying to relax to find slumber, chose a different book because this one will take you in! Claire, a reporter for a prominent newspaper, is asked to cover the late spring snowfall in Seattle, and any interesting finds from another Blackberry Winter snowfall that occurred in 1933 on the same date. When she uncovers a tale of a little boy gone missing, Claire cannot rest until she discovers the truth about his disappearance. She also finds immersing herself in this tragic tale helps her deal with loss in her own life. Run to your Kindle or bookstore to pick this one up. It is definitely one of my favorite books of the year! Beautifully moving and splendidly done, Sarah!

  • Diane S ☔
    2019-02-25 04:27

    3.5 What a heartfelt, poignant and bittersweet story. My favorite of hers so far, it is a combination of so many things, a mystery, characters trying to overcome a terrible grief and the horrible times after the great depression. Taking place in 1930 and in 2010 the story lines are related by the horrible and terrifying loss of children. A rather simple, quiet story told in a very relateable manner, the characters tug on your heart strings and although the ending is a bit pat it is fitting in this story and actually went well with the tone and atmosphere. Look forward to Jio's next book.

  • Lesley
    2019-03-13 06:24

    Interesting a suspenseful take of what happened to the missing child all those years ago. At times the dialogue seemed unreal but the actual story pushed me through to the end.

  • Book of Secrets ☘
    2019-03-03 08:35

    I know I'm about to read an emotional story when the book's dedication makes me cry. BLACKBERRY WINTER was both heartbreaking and uplifting, so have a box of tissues handy when you read it!A blackberry winter is an old-fashioned term used to describe a late spring snowfall, which is what happens at the beginning of this book. Reporter Claire Aldridge awakens on May 2nd to find Seattle covered under a blanket of snow. At work, she is assigned to do a story on the storm, and an identical one that happened on the same day 77 years prior. While researching the story, she discovers the unsolved case of a missing boy. Three-year old Daniel Ray was abducted during the snowstorm in 1933 while his mother Vera was at work.After being in a terrible accident a year ago, Claire has become a shell of her former self. Her marriage is crumbling, and in spite of counseling, she can not let go of the pain. Claire becomes engrossed in the mystery surrounding Daniel's disappearance, the first thing to spark her interest since that terrible day. As she digs deeper for clues to what happened to Daniel and Vera, some shocking secrets are revealed, ones that touch her on a personal level.I enjoyed how the story alternated between Claire's point of view in present day and Vera's in the past. I could feel every emotion the women experienced, and I sobbed with them a few times. BLACKBERRY WINTER may sound like a sorrowful tale, but it was so much more. It was about love and forgiveness. It was an eye-opening look at injustice in the 1930s. It was a puzzling mystery that kept me hooked from beginning to end. It was inspirational too. Solving the mystery of Daniel and Vera gave Claire the strength to save herself.BLACKBERRY WINTER is a story that will haunt my thoughts for a long time. It makes me want to hug my kids and never let go. 5-stars!My Thoughts on the Audio: This book was narrated by Tara Sands, and I am so happy I chose to listen to the audio version. I loved the emotion that Tara Sands added to the story. Even her male voices worked for me, mainly because she didn't try to be overly "manly" with them. Beautifully done!SOURCE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, however I listened to the audio version I borrowed from the library.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-04 03:35

    I had only read one other book written by author Sarah Jio before this one and I wasn't blown away, but after seeing a goodreads friend's rating/review (Thanks Myrna!), I added Blackberry Winter to my list. I'm so glad I did! This is a mix of women's fiction/chick-lit, mystery, romance, and historical fiction, with two very moving past/present alternating storylines. The "past" storyline takes place in the Depression-era and centers on Vera Ray, a single mother struggling with poverty. The "present" story takes place in 2010 and centers on Claire Aldridge, a reporter who is given a task to write an article on the Blackberry Winter storm of 1933 that happens to mimic the current weather of the city. Claire stumbles upon the story of Vera and an unsolved tragedy that occurred during the storm. While researching the article, Claire slowly begins to solve the mystery. Blackberry Winter was a well-written standalone novel about two women who's stories mirror each other in so many ways. In many books with alternating storylines, I tend to prefer one story to the other, but I felt engaged in both women's lives equally. I really enjoyed this book, and if you enjoy the various genres listed above I would recommend reading Blackberry Winter.My favorite quote:“My aunt Bee has always said that contrary to what most people think, the definition of a true friend is not someone who swoops in when you’re going through a rough patch.” She shook her head. “Anyone can do that. True friendship, she says, is when someone can appreciate your happiness—celebrate your happiness, even—when she’s not necessarily happy herself.”

  • Michelle
    2019-02-26 04:30

    This book came highly recommended by many friends of mine. And I have to say they hit the nail on the head with their recommendations - I loved it! A little history and a little mystery. With a dash of romance. Blackberry Winter tells the story of a hotel maid, Vera Ray, back in 1933 whose son Daniel was abducted during a May snow storm. In the present day part of the story, a reporter, Claire Aldridge, decides to research the child's disappearance when a similarly unusual May snow storm hits Seattle again 50+ years later.Claire, having recently lost a child herself, is determined to find out what happened to Daniel and is surprised to find out in the end how her husband's family actually was behind the abduction and cover-up. The ending is fabulous! A must-read in my opinion.