Sep 24, 2012

Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Seattle, 1932. Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and reluctantly leaves for work. She hates the nightshift, but it’s the only way she can earn enough to keep destitution at bay. In the morning—even though it’s the first 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.

On the first of May in 2010, Seattle Times reporter, Claire Hanson, awakens to another late-season snowstorm. Assigned to cover this “blackberry winter” and its predecessor nearly eighty years 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
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Imprint: Plume USA
Pub Date: September 25, 2012
ISBN: 9780452298385

Sarah Jio is the award-winning author of the novels THE VIOLETS OF MARCH, THE BUNGALOW and BLACKBERRY WINTER--all from Penguin (Plume). Her novels have/will be published in 15 countries and counting!

Visit her website at

According to Wikipedia, a blackberry winter is "a colloquial expression referring to a cold snap that often occurs in late spring when the blackberries are in bloom". I had never heard of this term before, and was intrigued by the book synopsis.

Vera Ray and Claire Hanson lived in the same town but they had never met. In fact, they were separated by many decades in time. As a reporter, Claire is assigned to write a story comparing a current storm to a May cold snap that happened exactly 80 years earlier.  During that earlier storm, Vera Ray's young son disappeared without a trace, and Claire was captivated by the unsolved mystery.

Vera was a young single mother trying to provide a home and security for her son. When Daniel goes missing, Vera is willing to do almost anything to find him. The second main character in the book is Claire Hanson, and she is not immune from pain and loss. She has experienced her own heartbreak over losing a child, and she has been unable to move on with her life.

These two grieving mothers have much in common, and Claire's investigation uncovers some uncanny connections and even some answers to her own grief. I love how the story centers around a quaint and cozy coffee shop. The characters may be separated by decades in time, yet they are connected through the same physical location.  

Blackberry Winter is a romantic mystery filled with anguish and pain, but also tenderness, unconditional love and second chances. 

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley, courtesy of and Penguin Group, in exchange for my honest review.


  1. But I'm not sure my heart can take it. I hate stories of mama's losing their babies.

  2. I also don't like sad stories! enough sadness around us.

  3. Its sad at some parts, but the ending is satisfying, not sad. Its beautiful and addicting. I read this book in a day. I definitely recommend this book.