Stacy's Books

books, movies, and boy

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.

February 12, 2014 - Posted by | 4 Star Books |


  1. This is the only Jio book I’ve read and I thought it was plagued with coincidences as well. I still enjoyed it for what it was though.

    Comment by BermudaOnion | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  2. I really liked Violets in March, too. Too bad about the narrator’s ‘man voice’… something like that can ruin an audio production for me.

    Comment by lakesidemusing | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  3. I’ve never heard of this author. She sounds interesting. But sorry it wasn’t quite up to snuff.

    Comment by Heather | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  4. Thanks for your thoughtful review. I’ve been curious about this book.

    Comment by postingfornow | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  5. This sounds like quite a problematic book. I am glad that you enjoyed it okay despite its issues.

    Comment by Pamela D | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  6. I haven’t read this one by her yet. I loved The Violets of March but the rest have been so so. Probably because they are all basically the same thing. Past and present. Lots of coincidences.

    Comment by The Many Thoughts of a Reader | February 12, 2014 | Reply

  7. What a fabulous review! I have not read any Jio but have Violets on the tbr.

    Comment by Care | February 13, 2014 | Reply

  8. Have this one, but haven’t read it. I read the Camellia one not too long ago and liked it.

    Comment by Diane@BibliophilebytheSea | February 13, 2014 | Reply

  9. This one sounds interesting. I might read it but won’t listen to it on audio.

    Comment by Vasilly | February 15, 2014 | Reply

  10. I just love this title and cover!

    Comment by Sheila (Book Journey) | February 15, 2014 | Reply

  11. I’ve seen this book reviewed a lot and have it in my “want to read” list on goodreads. nice review.

    Comment by kelley | February 17, 2014 | Reply

  12. Thanks for the heads up about the audio, a shame it was a little disappointing but that happens sometimes. I loved The Bungalow and Morning Glory and I have The Violets of March up next (think it might have been from you actually, a few years ago) but looking forward to it.

    Comment by Teddyree | February 18, 2014 | Reply

  13. I just recently bought this one, I’ve never read any of Jio’s books. Thanks for the review.

    Comment by Tara | March 1, 2014 | Reply

  14. I was surprised when I really enjoyed a book by Jio due to it not being a favorite genre. I do want to get to another by her. This one and another are on my TBR shelves. One day . . .

    Comment by Thoughts of Joy | March 8, 2014 | Reply

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