Blackberry Winter features two female leads in two different time periods living in Seattle and grieving the loss of a child. In 1933, Vera feels she has no choice but to leave her young son alone while she cleans hotel rooms or she will lose her only source of income. Tragically, her son disappears and the cops refuse to investigate after deeming him a runaway who will eventually return. In the present day, a May snowstorm causes a newspaper writer to happen upon Vera’s story while researching the last time Seattle experienced a May snow. Both stories are masterfully done with the mystery of what happened to Vera’s son Daniel unfolding in each era. Sarah Jio alternates the time periods with each chapter, but each is distinctive enough that there’s never any confusion as to the narrator. The characters truly come alive (Emily from The Violets of March is featured in a nice bonus for those who read Jio’s incredible debut) so that the heart-breaking emotions of Vera and Claire are felt on every page.
Review copy provided by the publisher, Plume.