Do a gorgeous cover and an intriguing premise a riveting story make?
They do in this book by an author who I know of primarily because of the podcasts she hosts and her wicked sense of humor.
When Sam Marconi packs up her home and leaves Las Vegas behind her, she pictures an idyllic life waiting for her and her daughter, Beth, in Bitterroot, Idaho. After saving for years, Sam finally has enough to chase her dream of owning and operating a small roadside motel. When she arrives, she finds her new business in a derelict state that makes Sam second guess her decision to move.
For Olly Jones, home has always been in the stretch of road between houses. As a child, her parents raised her to embrace a nomadic life, a practice she continues as an adult. Unlike her parents, Olly doesn’t view the movement as her birthright. She feels an inexplicable, irrepressible tug pulling her ever forward, searching for…something. She trusts she’ll know it when she finds it.
Sam and Olly’s first meeting is explosive with accusations of trespass and vandalism, backed up by mace. But when Sam puts up a flyer seeking skilled labor at an unskilled labor price, Olly is the only one who shows up for the job. Despite her initial reservations, Sam hires her and eventually realizes Olly is exactly what she needs.
Charmed by Bitterroot and drawn in by Sam’s fierce independence, Olly lingers longer than normal. For the first time, she sees a potential for home and family. Will they find a way to build the life they’ve both been searching for? Or will they cling to the ties holding them to the past?
Where do I begin?
Hmm… I guess I have to start with Olly.
Olly was my favorite character in this book. She’s gruff, confused, talented, and plagued by the kind of skeletons that would turn most characters bad. But Olly is anything but bad. She’s got a kind heart that melted me from the first time she was introduced in the story, and kept me a puddle on the floor to the very end.
My second favorite character was actually not a character at all, but the town of Bitterroot. It is exactly what I always imagine when people talk about loving small-town life, and is the kind of place I hope to end up in one day. There are no secrets in Bitterroot, but it’s not plagued by malicious gossip, because the people are by-and-far kind and helpful.
George was an unexpectedly sweet addition to the story; I wish he were my real-life relative, because I love his man-of-few-words vibe and core of goodness.
And Sam? Sam is sort of who I was a few years before I found my wife. Lost and searching for a change, not knowing what she wants, but ready for the next adventure.
I give this book a solid four out of five stars. Reading it was a pleasure, and I can’t wait to see what else Bitterroot has to offer!