This is my first time participating in Julie at PBFingers book club. This month we read Blackberry Winter. I read this book in one late night reading session at the beginning of the month, I finished at 4am and then woke up at 7:30 for when Chris got off work. I’ll admit I had a reading hangover for the rest of the day. I was meaning to write my review right away but of course I forgot so now the details and opinion are a little fuzzy.
The book switches between 2010 and 1933 taking you thru two stories.
In 1933 Vera Ray leaves her 3-year-old son Daniel home alone while she works the night shift. While she is at work the city is covered in a May-day snow. When she arrives home she finds Daniel gone. In present day (2010) Claire is a reporter married to a wealthy newspaper owner. She and her marriage are in shambles. Claire is assigned to write a story about the 1933 snow storm and the storm the recently blanketed Seattle. The previous year while out running she was hit by a car and suffered a miscarriage. The story of Daniel and Vera become an outlet for her to deal with the loss of her own child.
My Review (With Spoilers)
I found the story of Vera to be annoying and blah. The older characters made choices that to me just didn’t seem logical or well thought out. Vera and Charles love each other and want to get married but they throw everything away so easily and they make no effort to make their relationship work. Vera continuously does things that make no sense and undermines the relationship, like hiding her pregnancy from Charles, she loved him so why do that? It’s like the entire time she was wanting the relationship to fail. She sets herself up for hardship and then mopes about it. Then there is Charles who needs to grow a pair. Vera runs of and he does what, nothing. He knows where she lives, he knows where she works and he doesn’t track her down? Why? Even when Vera is given the chance to make things right and tell Charles the truth she balks and runs away again. I found myself frustrated at them and disengaged with their story.
Meanwhile Claire’s story I loved. The mystery over her accident and pain. The troubles in her relationship and her determination at finding out what happened to Vera and Daniel. I would read thru the Vera non-sense in order to get back to Claire’s story. Her story to me made sense and seemed like a logical persons decisions. It seems like her husband is having an affair but you hope that they can pull together and make things work. The best part is you know Claire can do it and I found myself pulling for her. I was so happy when they worked things out and a little miffed that Vera and Charles couldn’t of put in 1/10th the effort and do the same.
The ending seemed really rushed and ill thought out. There are so many loose ends and for me it leaves more questions than answers. Claire initially thought that the wrong child was Daniel but simple math makes that impossible. I am not good at math but I caught the mistake instantly and at 3:30am! So that twist really did nothing for me. I wonder why when Charles sister shows up with a toddler no one asked questions, it seems like everyone was in on the plot. There is also no explanation as to how Josephine got into the apartment. It didn’t sound like a break in. Then there was mention a few times of a lady with feathers in her hat, we are never told if this was in fact Josephine or someone else. The author never really says who killed Vera, just the mention of a woman and a man on the dock but never say who that man is, we are led to believe the woman is Josephine. The man is upset by the murder and it only makes sense to me that would mean it was Charles. But then we find out that it wasn’t until Josephine is on her death bed that he finds out who Daniel is. Come on is he that stupid? Vera comes looking for her son, a son the right age to be your son, your sister has magically acquired a son, you find your sister on the dock with Vera in the water, she stops you from saving her, and you don’t put together the pieces. How does he not ask questions? A former flame dies in my backyard and I would demand some answers but yet it seems Charles just blissfully moves on with his life. Everything prior went at a leisurely pace. There were plenty of details and then all of a sudden Vera’s dead somehow and the book ends. There aren’t even details as to how Vera got into the water. There is mention of a capsized boat but no details. Did she steal the boat? Did Josephine tell her to use the boat? Was she pushed in and Josephine pushed the boat in to make it look like an accident? Who knows. The way it was written just seemed like the author was trying to get it over with and just end the book.
Overall I felt the Claire plot line was fabulous the rest left something to be desired.