We will be voting on a book to read for the March book club tomorrow!
Blackberry Winter follows two women, Vera Ray, a single mother in 1933 trying to make end’s meet, and Claire Aldridge, a journalist in the middle of marital strife in 2010. When Claire is assigned to cover an unusual snowstorm that mirrors a storm that took place back in 1933, she uncovers a story about a missing boy, a story that links her life to Vera’s in many ways.
My Review (With Spoilers)
I went into Blackberry Winter with high expectations since I absolutely loved Sarah Jio’s debut novel, The Violets of March. Much like The Violets of March, Blackberry Winter hops back and forth between two stories that are closely intertwined.
Blackberry Winter kept me engaged, but it wasn’t really a “page-turner” for me until I reached the last third of the book. I cared about Vera and wanted to see Claire work through the grief surrounding her personal tragedy, but I wasn’t completely hooked until Claire started to put the pieces together and figure out how her life was connected to Vera’s. Then Blackberry Winter became quite an exciting read!
My main gripe? I found a lot of the twists rather predictable in this book. I had a feeling Warren would be an integral character from the moment he entered the novel. The way Claire uncovered clues right after something similar happened in Vera’s story seemed a little obvious at times. I wanted to try to figure things out on my own, but felt like many of the clues were delivered on a silver platter.
Another little gripe I had with the book was how quickly Vera seemed to take Josephine’s words to heart. I know that she struggled with Charles’ wealth and opulence, but I felt like the book made it very obvious that she was madly in love with him and I can’t imagine someone leaving a relationship (pregnant, no less) without so much as a conversation.
I know this may be an unusual thing to mention in a book review, but I really loved Sarah’s note to the reader at the end of the book. Though I am not a mother myself, I loved this quote: “Wendi reminds me, always, that motherhood–life–no matter how short, is a gift.” My heart broke for both Vera and Claire throughout this novel. I cannot imagine going through the loss of a child and reading along as both women worked through their pain was heart wrenching. I thought the excerpt when Claire watches the robin and it becomes clear that she is going to move on, but will never forget her baby, was absolutely beautiful. Sarah Jio did a wonderful job conveying a mother’s love throughout the novel.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It was a quick and engaging read and I remain a Sarah Jio fan!
Blogger Link Up
You can find additional reviews of Blackberry Winter on the following blogs:
- Kristina Masten
- Bit By Bit
- Healthy Epiphany
- Biting Life
- Day-By-Day Masterpiece
- A Healthy Slice of Life
- Chelsea Eats Treats
- Fitness Perks
- Pennies on the Run
- Love, Laugh, Laurie!
- Hungry Healthy Girl
- Run with Perseverance
- Freeing Imperfections
- Run, Eat, Play
- My Neon Running Shoes
- Good for the Soul by Dani-T
- Food, Fun and Life in Waukesha
- Did you find Claire or Vera’s story more engaging?
- Did you anticipate any of the twists in the novel? Which one(s)?
- How did you feel about the ending? Were you happy with the man Claire ended up with in the end?