So it makes sense that I like to read certain types of books at certain times of the year - gothic, spooky tales at Halloween, Dickensian heart-warmers at Christmas. There's something about following the calendar in my reading that helps me to not only savor, but mark each part of the year.
So, I thought I'd start a series on my blog called "Books for All Seasons." For every season or major holiday in the year, if I've got a recommendation to put into your yearly rotation, I'll blog about it.
I'd love for you to share what your seasonal favorites are too, so please comment away.
The inaugural book, is Blackberry Winter, by Seattle author Sarah Jio. Here's my review. Let me know what you think of the book, and even better, if you've got kind words to give, let Sarah know in a review of your own. Happy reading, friends!
Ms. Jio owes me. Big time. What does she owe me?
Blackberry Winter is an "oh I'll just read the next section and then turn off the light...damn it! How is it 1am?" read.
It seems to be a trend in historical fiction to write from the perspective of a modern day woman whose life intertwines with a woman from history - take Tara Conklin's House Girl as another great example. Some historical fiction purists don't like this, and maybe they have a point, but the story comes to the author as it comes to the author and if you're looking only for strict historical fiction, or bodice ripping romance this book isn't for you.
But if you want to snuggle up with some cocoa this winter and wrap yourself in an engrossing, heart-tugging and ultimately hopeful tale about two women a century apart struggling to find their way back to their purpose in life, back to love, back to reconciliation, then Blackberry Winter's for you.
The pace is perfect (see sentence #3 above), the characters believable and insightfully drawn, and I challenge anyone to read about the teddy bear in the snow and not have your eyes wet with tears, mother or no.
Jio's voice is like that of a good friend - there is a carefully crafted casualness that feels almost like a conversation. And yet there's nothing amateurish about her style, just more a sense of familiarity that makes reading her books feel like you're spending a weekend getaway with an longtime and interesting friend. You want to be with her and her characters on this journey.
It is my Book For All Seasons pick for January, and I hope it will be yours too!