In 2010 in Seattle newspaper reporter Claire Aldridge is instructed to write a story about the storm that occurs there on May 1st, referred to as a "blackberry winter". She quickly finds out that a storm happened on the same date 80 years prior and that that is the date on which little Daniel Ray disappeared, never to be heard from again. Dealing with her own tragic situation as well as the fact that she and her husband have never felt further apart from one another, Claire throws herself into the story of Daniel and Vera Ray and becomes desperate to find out what happened to them.
As Claire digs deeper into the story she discovers that there is more to it than she initially thought, and she uncovers some long-buried family skeletons in pursuit of the truth.
I've read Sarah Jio's previous novels and I have loved both of them, but I can honestly say that Blackberry Winter is my favourite novel of hers to date. There was something wonderful about the fact that Claire was able to uncover the truth about events that happened so long ago. Jio's writing was beautiful as always, the characters were ones that you couldn't help but root for, and there was just so much emotion packed into the pages. There are times that too much emotion can turn me off of reading a book. Don't get me wrong- I like emotion, but it has to be in realistic doses, and Jio got that balance just right. There was one scene in particular that really got to me and had me tearing up. I wish that I could tell you which one it was but that would spoil it, so you will just have to read the book for yourself! Jio even managed to surprise me at the end with one thing. There were a few parts of the conclusion that I could see coming, but one part caught me off guard and I liked being surprised.
Blackberry Winter is a novel that I am happy to recommend to anyone looking to read an interesting and heart-wrenching story. Some aspects will appeal to those who enjoy women's fiction, while others will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction. When you combine all of the various elements together it makes for one very enjoyable read. My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this novel.