By Sarah Jio
(Plume, Paperback, 9780452298385, September 2012, 320pp.)
The Short of It:
Short, sweet story with a little bit of mystery thrown in.
The Rest of It:
Claire Aldridge has suffered a terrible loss and although a year has passed, she is struggling to accept what cannot be changed, and in the process, realizes that her marriage to Ethan might very well be over. As she delves into her work as a newspaper reporter, mostly to numb herself against the pain, she stumbles across a story from the 1930’s. A story about a young mother by the name of Vera Ray, and her missing three-year-old son, Daniel who disappeared during a blackberry winter. Suspicious over why he was never found, Claire digs deeper, hoping for a story but also curious over what really happened to the little boy. While searching clues, she comes across some similarities to her own life that she finds impossible to ignore.
Out of the three Jio books I’ve read thus far, this was probably the most predictable story of the three. It was too sweet for me in places and the dialogue seemed a tad artificial, but after just a few chapters I was reeled in. Jio’s ability to take a reader back and forth through time is effortless. So much so, that you tend to overlook the fact that there are far too many coincidences in the story to be plausible.
As for the characters, Claire drove me batty. Her insecurities get the best of her and seeing her vacillate between devoted wife and “not so devoted wife” became tiring after a while. I wanted to know more about Ethan, her husband and the mysterious Vera Ray. Whenever a story is interwoven with a story from the past, I am almost always more interested in the story from the past. That was the case here.
Jio’s knack for creating stories that transcend time is what makes her so popular with her readers. However, with this being the third book following the same format, I’d like to see her go in a different direction for her next book. I keep coming back because no matter how “pat” an ending may seem or how many coincidences there may be, I still find myself getting swept up in the story, and you can’t say that with too many books these days.
Overall, a quick read to lose yourself in while the kids run amok around you.
Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
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