Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio

Blackberry Winter: A NovelBlackberry Winter. Finished audio 2-6-14, rating 3.75/5, fiction. pub. 2012

Unabridged audio 10 hours 6 minutes.  Read by Tara Sands

Seattle, 1933. Single mother Vera Ray kisses her three-year-old son, Daniel, goodnight and departs to work the night-shift at a local hotel. She emerges to discover that a May-Day snow has blanketed the city, and that her son has vanished. Outside, she finds his beloved teddy bear lying face-down on an icy street, the snow covering up any trace of his tracks, or the perpetrator’s.
Seattle, 2010. Seattle Herald reporter Claire Aldridge, assigned to cover the May 1 “blackberry winter” storm and its twin, learns of the unsolved abduction and vows to unearth the truth. In the process, she finds that she and Vera may be linked in unexpected ways…

from Goodreads

I read The Violets of March a few years ago and loved it, so I was happy to see a quick return visit to our friends on Bainbridge Island in this book.  I still love Jio’s writing, but this one missed the mark of being great read for me.  Still good, still want to read her other books, but this one won’t be making my favorite list.

I like the alternating storylines, and that’s a good thing since everyone seems to be doing it these days, and Jio does it so well.  We start with Vera, a very poor single mom trying to raise her young son during the Depression-era.  She has to work at night and sometimes has to leave Daniel alone in their small apartment above a tavern.  As the story moves along we learn who Daniel’s father is and why he’s not in their lives anymore.  Claire is the modern-day storyline.  She is a reporter who has married into a very wealthy family, but has suffered a loss that is causing the crumbling of her marriage.

As with any alternating storyline plot there are always going to be coincidences that connect the two, you expect it and accept it, but there were just so many in this one, too many for my logical brain to accept.  And I did have a likeability problem with Claire. She was whiny for much of the book and I get that that was the place she was in at the time, but it didn’t make me all that invested in her story.  It was Vera and Daniel’s story that drew me in. I wanted to know what had happened to him!

A note about the audio production, I hated the voices the narrator used for the men.  She was fine otherwise, but the men in the story suffered.  I checked the audio out of the library.

I liked this one, didn’t love it, and can’t wait to read more from Jio.