Heartbeat of the Bitterroot
Jenna Clark tries to keep her bleak childhood memories buried in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father’s identity forces her to dig into her past. With the help of Michael Callahan—the charming man she meets at her uncle’s ranch—she delves deeper into a history that would rather stay hidden. When harmless pranks quickly turn into aggressive threats, Jenna must decide whether to run away one more time or face her past with courage and finally let love into her heart.
By Mandy Al-Bjaly, Submitted on 2017-06-22
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.
By Katie, Submitted on 2017-06-18
Set in Missoula, Montana, HEARTBEAT OF THE BITTERROOT has a sweet and almost nostalgic feel to it. Jenna was raised by an aunt and uncle and works for the airport and has recently moved back to be closer to family. I love that family seems so important to the characters.
The wording in this story is very rich and uses good imagery. I could visualize the setting really well and the characters came to life, to a point, but there are a one or two that I wish would've stayed flat because I really didn't care for them. I wanted to see more character interaction, feeling, and depth, especially with the romantic angle.
Usually a book has a conflict or two for the characters to work through and I felt that this one had too many. Things were flowing along just fine and then something was thrown in and I wondered what that had to do with the anything and then it would randomly pop up again later. I didn't feel a good build-up to what was happening and there were a lot of bumps in the road for Jenna to overcome and it was a little jolting to have them come out of nowhere. A lot of the threads were loosely tied together and I wanted them to be more connected somehow.
This is a good read, especially if you like bursts of mystery/suspense and an overall gentle flow.
*I received a copy through the publisher, which did not affect my thoughts in any way. All opinions are my own.*