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Blackberry Winter is the story of two women. Vera Ray's story takes place in 1933 and Claire Aldridge's is in 2010. A May 2 snowstorm, 77 years apart links to the two stories together.
Claire is a newspaper reporter and her editor wants her to write a story about the two snowstorms, 77 years apart to the day. After all, snow in May? Even in Seattle, this is unusual.
Claire is still recovering from an accident the previous year. Although she and her husband, Ethan are still living together, they are like roommates, and maybe that is giving their relationship too much credit. They barely speak — each is hurting, grieving, and they don't know what to say to one another. Claire is also overwhelmed with guilt.
It doesn't help that Ethan's former girlfriend is often inviting him to lunch. She's the food reporter for the paper and often asks Ethan to accompany her to special events. Something he rarely if ever did before the accident.
And then there is Dominic, the sweet good-looking owner of Café Lavanto. He understands Claire's penchant for hot chocolate, which annoys Ethan. How can she not love coffee when they live in Seattle? Claire and Dominic begin to form a friendship, which is quickly leading to more.
The only close relationship Claire has inside of Ethan's family is with his beloved grandfather, Warren who is in a nursing home and his health is not well. Ethan's mother has asked Claire to curtail her weekly visits. She feels the visits acerbate his condition.
As Claire searches for a link to the two snowstorms, she uncovers the disappearance of 3 year old Daniel Ray. His mother, Vera returned home from work early that morning to find the boy missing. The police dismiss him as a runaway.
Thorough the alternate story line, the reader gets a chance to know Vera, a wonderful mother, who is caught in the clutches of poverty. She tried taking the boy with her to work, but was told she would be fired if she did. All of her friends must work too. There is no one to care for the boy. Surely, he will be fine, alone at home through night. It is her only option.
Intrigued, I know I was and I was not disappointed. The mysterious disappearance of a child, murder, hope, healing, and love fill the pages of Blackberry Winter, the perfect book to enjoy on a rainy fall day.
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