Review: Bitter Thaw by Jessica McCann

by Joli
Bitter Thaw by Jessica McCann Book Review

When I received a review request for a book that was set in my home state of Minnesota with elements of historical mystery, I had to give it a try. Wow, I’m so glad I did!

The Summary

Minnesota, 1956

Unknown human remains are discovered deep within the mosaic of rugged forests and interconnected waterways once home to the native Ojibwe people.

More than 30 years later, fresh news of the cold case reopens old wounds for an Arizona family, from a time when gender stereotypes, racial bigotry, and small-town gossip led to tragedy. Now, three generations – a mother, son and granddaughter – embark on a cross-country journey in a search for truth and a hope of redemption.

As long-buried secrets are unearthed, they each begin to question their memories, motives, and basic notions of good and evil.

My Review

Isn’t it the best feeling to be reading a book that you think about often, when you’re at work or doing other things? I definitely thought about Bitter Thaw and wanted to get back to it when I was supposed to be focused on other things!

There was a lot going on in this story, and it was really compelling. It jumps back and forth from past to present, and does so with ease. Sometimes, this type of book is difficult to read because you like one of the stories better than the other one, and you hate getting pulled out of the better story to be thrust into the not-as-good. With Bitter Thaw, I didn’t experience that at all. Both past and present were great, for different reasons.

The historical portion of the book was my favorite by a little bit. I loved getting to know the family, the small Northern Minnesota town, and all its prejudices and blind spots. Plus, you learn of a tragedy, and glimpse how the family deals with their different kinds of grief.

In the present, the grandmother character is a hoot, and I LOVE the progression of her relationship with her son, through the eyes of both him and her grand daughter. There’s also that little bit of a mystery element in the present that pulls at you while you’re reading. You think you might know what’s going to happen, but you’re not sure and really want to get to the part where you figure it out.

Overall, I really liked this book and thought about it often when I wasn’t reading it. I had to know what happens, and was really invested in each of the characters. I really recommend picking this one up! I gave it 4.5 stars. | Amazon | Goodreads

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