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Blackthorn Winter

Review

Blackthorn Winter

Juliana Martin-Drake has enough on her mind. Her mother has
dragged her and her brother and sister halfway around the world in
an effort to "find herself" as an artist.  Not only does
Juliana miss her dad, she worries that her parents will be getting
a divorce. Then there's trying to fit into the artist's colony at
Blackthorn.


Everything is different in England. Juliana misses the California
sunshine, along with her private American bathroom and her
gregarious friends. She doesn't know anyone in England; when she
speaks to them, she only understands about half of what they're
saying. And of course there's the tiny matter of her memory.
Juliana can't remember anything from the time before she was
adopted, at age 5. It has always bothered her, but --- somehow here
in England, separated from almost everything familiar --- it seems
even worse.


So the last thing she needs is to be involved in a murder mystery.
But when someone bashes neighboring artist Liza Pethering on the
back of the head and then leaves her in a river to drown, Juliana
finds herself caught up in the drama. Everyone else seems relieved
and almost happy when the police arrest the ne'er-do-well of the
neighborhood, Simon Jukes. But to Juliana, things just don't add
up. There are so many other people with better motives: Liza's
henpecked husband; the local patron of the arts who's enraged by
the cruel portrait Liza painted of her; the girl Liza recently
fired, whose response was to wish Liza dead; and maybe even
Juliana's own mother.


Despite mysterious warnings to back off, Juliana continues to
investigate. The closer she gets to a solution, the more difficult
she finds it to shake the feeling that this is all tied up with her
own mysterious past. Will she succeed in unraveling the mystery
before the murderer decides to make her the next victim?


BLACKTHORN WINTER is an exciting combination of a novel about
coming-of-age angst and a mystery. Kathryn Reiss does a good job of
devoting equal time to each aspect, and of integrating the two
themes into a great read. With believable characters, a fascinating
setting and a compulsively readable mystery, BLACKTHORN WINTER is a
wonderful addition to anyone's library.


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Reviewed by Paula Jolin on October 18, 2011

Blackthorn Winter
by Kathryn Reiss

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2006
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
  • ISBN-10: 0152054790
  • ISBN-13: 9780152054793