Reviewed by Sarah Lelonek

There are certain types of books and movies that I can’t watch all the time. Dramas usually fall into this category. I have to be in a certain mood to read or watch something that I know will leave me in tears. That being said, when I picked up Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio I knew I was going to be crying by the end of the book, but that certainly didn’t stop me from reading. I found myself moved by the story and unable to put the book down.

The story moves between two women, one who lived during the Great Depression and another who lives in modern times. During each story, there is a freak blizzard in early May. Both women have lost a child, one to a miscarriage and one to the storm. Clarie, the modern woman, is sent to find a new story about the correlation between both storms. It is during this research that Claire uncovers an unsolved missing person’s case from the 1930s, Vera’s son Daniel. Claire sees it as her mission to find the ending to Vera’s untold story.

Blackberry Winter is more than just a good read, though. Sure, the plot is interesting and nicely written, but what got to me was the emotion the two women possessed. Jio manages to capture the pain of a mother who’s lost her child perfectly. I could feel my heartstrings being tugged with each and every page. By the end of the story, I found myself invested in the two women, only wanting their pain to end.

As a woman who has yet to have children, I would have to say that Blackberry Winter captures my idea of a mother’s grief. The plot is well-developed and offers a few twists that are quite surprising. While it’s not a hard or long read, I thought the novel was the perfect length. Nothing seemed drawn out, and conversely, nothing seemed under-developed. I read straight through Jio’s novel in two sittings, which would have been one, but the battery on my eReader died. Even though I wanted to continue reading Jio’s wonderful novel even after reaching the end, I think that it had the perfect conclusion to a wonderful story.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Also by Sarah Jio: The Violets of March

Sarah Emily Lelonek has a BA in English Literature from Kent State University. She is planning on attending Graduate School for English Rhetoric and Composition. She enjoys traveling and gaming while on breaks from working on her novel.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Plume. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.