Bitterroot Lake by Alicia Beckman

Bitterroot Lake

Bitterroot Lake
by Alicia Beckman


336 Pages

Published by Crooked Lane Books (13th April 2021)

Purchase from | Booktopia* | Fishpond AU* | Dymocks | | Book Depository* | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Amazon UK |

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My rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Crooked Lane Books, and the author via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Seventeen days. It’s been seventeen days since Sarah’s husband passed away. Seventeen days since her life changed in a way that she still can’t understand, yet. Her mother suggested she return to the family homestead at Bitterroot Lake. That cataloguing and cleaning the lodge will give her purpose, help keep her busy, keep her moving. What Sarah doesn’t expect when she arrives at the lodge, is her friend Janine whom she hasn’t seen in a long while. Another thing that comes as a shock is the murder. Twenty five years ago, Sarah had a dream that she brushed off as nothing, until a young man died and Sarah felt responsible for not speaking up. Now, back at the lodge, the dreams have returned, though a man was already dead before they started. What could the dreams possibly be trying to warn her about now?

I was expecting a psychological thriller when I requested this, and that’s not what I got, but I’m not even mad at it because it was an entertaining read that had a lot going on.

Sarah’s husband has recently passed away and she heads back to Whitetail lodge on Bitterroot lake to get away for a bit and try and work through her grief, what she finds when she gets there is anything but a quiet space to do anything though. Her friend Janine, whom she hasn’t kept in contact with and their friendship has drifted a bit, is in one of the cabins and is freaking out because she thinks she’s going to be the one pinned for a murder, but she claims it wasn’t her. Enter Sarah’s sister, Holly and their other friend Nic, and the old gang is back together. This brings up old grievances and makes the story not just a mystery with paranormal connotations, but a story about love, friendship, and grief and how you have to work at all of them. It’s a real well rounded book and covers a lot of stuff. I loved that there was the touch of possible paranormal/supernatural stuff like the dreams Sarah was having as well as the pennies she keeps finding. Though these are never really cleared up as such, they’re left open to the readers interpretation which I feel work great for this story.

I found this to be a slow burn and I’ll admit, it did take me a while to read, but I don’t think that was due to pacing issues, I feel like it may have just been because I feel like I haven’t really had a moment to myself lately. What I will say though, even though I did enjoy the story enough, it didn’t really grip me and keep me needing to know what was going to happen. Yeah the mystery itself kept me going because I wanted to know who the murderer was, but nothing else really grabbed me, which is a shame, because there were some fantastic ideas here and I honestly do think they were done well, I just feel like this book may have not been for me. I feel like I may have ruined it for myself by expecting it to be more towards the psychological thriller side of things than just a straight mystery. I did feel like the murder itself kind of took a backseat to everything else, once the mystery of the girl in Sarah’s dreams started, and then the friends started uncovering more about the history of their family lodge, the mystery of that side of the story became a front runner. So in the end, the conclusion of everything felt a teeny bit rushed and the murder really did feel like it had taken a backseat to everything else, it almost felt like an afterthought for me. And I was super curious about the cat….what was with the cat! I loved the addition of said cat, but I’m left with questions about her, was there a hidden meaning connected to her?? I NEED TO KNOWWWW!

I don’t want to say too much about the story because the blurb doesn’t really give much away, so I don’t want to either. All I’ll say is it was a mystery, not just of the whodunnit kind, but incorporated a mystery connected to the history of the place itself. It was also a story that really touched on the importance of friendships and how miscommunications can happen so easily, and how not saying something can scream so much louder than any words you could have voiced. It’s about a family trying to deal with their grief over a recently lost loved one, as well as grieving so many other things as well. I almost feel like this could go into women’s fiction, if I’m honest.

The characters were likeable enough, and I don’t really have much to say about them other than they were well written, and their relationships were clear and expansive. I feel like there was so much more that could have been looked into in the writing of this book, but then it may have been too long. The story is definitely plot driven rather than character driven, at least for me it was. Nothing really stands out about any of the characters as a whole.

So final thoughts: This was an alright book. I did enjoy the story, but probably wouldn’t pick it up again. I’d definitely check out more from the author as I found her narrative to be lyrical with a steady flow which really helped put you in the story. If you like a mystery with character development and growth between the relationships, give it a shot.

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