Sam Marconi has packed up her daughter and everything they own, leaving her fast-paced life managing a hotel behind in Las Vegas. She’s bought a motel in Bitterroot, Idaho, and is excited to start over in the small town that she’s visited many times. Beth resents the move, leaving a dubious boyfriend behind in Vegas, but Sam is hopeful that it will be for the best in the long run.
When Sam and Beth arrive in Bitterroot, they’re shocked and dismayed to find that the motel has been trashed. And while Sam may have some money in the bank, there’s no way it’s enough to cover a contractor to do all of the required renovations.
Olly Jones lives her life on the road. She doesn’t know what she’s looking for and yet Olly is sure that she’ll know it when she sees it. When she finds herself in Bitterroot, she likes the quiet town. Except, that is, for the woman who screams at Olly with a can of mace in her hand for sleeping in her motel parking lot.
When Sam leaves a flyer on the notice board in town, Olly is the only person who shows up to help fix the motel. Despite their rocky beginning, each woman begins to relax around the other. And even though Olly is used to her itchy feet always taking her to the next place, she starts to think that she just may have found what she’s been looking for all along.
Bitterroot Queen has some damn fine character work. Sam, Olly, and Beth are all complex and have their own arcs that are satisfying to read. They are also joined by a cast of side characters who help bring the town of Bitterroot to life and who I’m looking forward to revisiting in future books in this series.
When I chose the “internal journey” tag for this review, I really had Olly in mind, because she grows the most. She’s entirely guarded and constantly on the move at the beginning of the story and manages to lay down a few roots and build relationships by the end of it. We get to see the experiences and her thought processes along the way, which makes the growth feel authentic. I didn’t find her easy to connect with at first, so I was happy to find myself cheering for her by the end.
Sam and Beth each grow as individuals, and they also grow in their parent/child relationship. As a mother, I really appreciated seeing their struggles and how they resolve them because it felt like I was reading about real people.
The Writing Style
I went into this book knowing that it’s not a romance, but I didn’t really know anything else. There isn’t actually a lot of story to it because this book is all character growth. That works very well, though, because the perspective shifts between Sam and Olly, letting us in on their respective journeys.
Bitterroot Queen is so well written, with a smooth style that makes it easy to read even when difficult issues come up. The pacing is bang on, the plotting that’s there is tight and works well, and the setting is portrayed in a way that makes me excited to visit again and again.
Literally everything. This book is perfect
I can’t think of anything.
Bitterroot Queen wrapped me like a warm hug and stuck with me for days. The subject matter isn’t always easy, but everything is masterfully handled by Jove Belle. I’ve been a fan of hers for years and I can safely say that this is her best book. If you don’t pick it up, you’re definitely missing out on one of the best lesfic releases of 2017.
Excerpt from Bitterroot Queen by Jove Belle
“It’s not as bad as it looks.” Olly ducked her head and looked away. Her job at the Bitterroot Queen did not include consoling the owner. But the look on Sam’s face, a mix of desperation and defiant independence, twisted Olly up inside. So much so that the words she normally would have kept to herself spilled out completely without permission.
When she had arrived, Sam had been standing in the lot, hands on her hips, staring at the building. She’d recovered quickly enough when Olly eased the Scout to a stop next to her. Not quick enough, though, because the heartache, regret, and immutable hope in her expression was loud enough to kick Olly right in the face.
Sam smiled, a sheepish, reluctant upturn of her lips that made Olly want to pull her into a hug. Or push her away and run. She vibrated with the mixed message as her brain yelled at her to move.
“Yes, it is.” Sam sighed. “But it’s mine, so I’m going to pretend you’re right.” She dusted her hands together, a decision clearly made. “Ready to get dirty?” She raised her eyebrows and grinned.
“Um, that is—” Her face flushed.
“Sure,” Olly said, saving her from further embarrassment.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781947253001
- Publisher: Dirt Road Books
Jove Belle Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Bitterroot Queen by Jove Belle. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.
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