After reading Janice Mineer’s Heartbeat of the Bitterroot, I think I may need to take a vacation to the Bitterroot Valley someday. Just the author’s beautiful imagery of the landscape kept me thoroughly involved in the novel, not to mention a complex love story, dangerous situations, complicated family life, and interesting, likable characters.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading from Jenna Clark’s point of view. She works at the airport in Missoula. She had a difficult childhood, and her relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother, hurt her enough that she has a hard time realizing that she deserves happiness, and that she could make anyone else happy.
Sometimes when we hear that there is a love story (or even a love triangle), in a novel, we may roll our eyes and assume it will be just like all the rest. This book is different. You feel and experience the inward and outward struggles of many of the characters, and you hope for their safety, success and joy.
I think this novel expertly shows the importance that family can have on one’s life, either for good or bad. However, it also shows that regardless of the circumstances you have faced, you can rise above them. You have potential, you are special, and you do deserve happiness no matter what obstacles you have faced thus far.
This is a very deep novel on so many levels. To add to that, Jenna also encounters numerous strange and dangerous situations. The reader has to figure out what is going on and why. It is interesting that though the people around seem to figure out the connections, Jenna can’t always see it. I think that is likely accurate, as we don’t want to see what is right in front of us sometimes. We want to avoid pain if we can.
Though I loved the book, I can’t say it was perfect. Two of the characters kind of drop out of the story with no explanation why. I wondered why they didn’t remain. Also, I felt the resolution of the mystery was too quick, and the explanation didn’t make a lot of sense the first time I read it either.
That being said, I highly recommend reading this book. The bitterroot flower has a strong connection in the story, and offers a lovely metaphor to ponder, making the title of the novel perfect for the story.
*I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
About the book:
Jenna Clark always tried to bury her bleak beginnings in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father’s identity forces Jenna to dig up her past. While there, mysterious threats and dangers suddenly enter her life that bring about an unexpected man of her dreams–Michael Callahan. After a lifetime of running away from family and love will Jenna find the courage to confront her past and step forward into the future?
About the author:
Janice Mineer was born in the state of Washington. She graduated from Brigham Young University and later taught English, allowing her to spend quality time with something she loves-the written word. A hopeless romantic, Janice has played harp for weddings, even for one that took place on the edge of a cliff over a river. Because of her first husband’s long illness, Janice and her family spent extended time away from home to be near the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. When her husband passed away, Janice dedicated herself to work with the Ronald McDonald House to provide a home away from home for families who need medical care for their children. Janice is the author of a children’s book, Gingerbread from the Heart. Secret Heart of the Bitterroot is her first novel.
Janice lives in the Bitterroot valley of Montana with her husband, Randy. Between them they have five children and 11 beautiful grandchildren.