Jann Arden Makes A Wonderful Fiction Debut with The Bittlemores

Is there anything Jann Arden can’t do? In addition to singer-songwriter, actress, host and all-around Canadian treasure, we can now add fiction writer to the list of her many accomplishments.

Her first novel, The Bittlemores, is an enchantingly far-fetched, yet gripping story of a couple, Harp and Mrs. B., who become embittered and angry after losing hope of having children of their own. Desperate to raise a child, Mrs. B. convinces Harp to kidnap a baby from the hospital nursery in a nearby town. Raising the child as their own, this misfit pair continue to spiral down a rabbit hole of deceit, cruelty, bitterness and down right insanity. At the ripe old age of 14, their ‘daughter’ Margaret finds her own way to fight back and there begins round two of an already out of control hauntingly hilarious family tale. 

While things inside the four walls of the Bittlemores’ decrepit farmhouse continue the one-way path to collapse, life on the rest of the farm is no picnic either. Harp is a man overflowing with bitter cruelty and the animals on his property suffer at the hands of his rages. The surviving pigs, cows and cats make it their mission to not only hold out against this cruel and haunting man but to somehow prevail. 

Meanwhile, back at home, 14-year-old ‘granddaughter’ Willa is starting to ask questions about her ‘sister’ Margaret, wondering why she hasn’t contacted her family since her hasty retreat 14 years earlier. These questions are the lighter fluid on a pile of lies that threaten to upset whatever semblance of balance may remain in this family unit.

Throughout this zany and heartbreaking story are tender moments of hilarity, kindness and joy. The reader is pulled into the innocence and goodness of Willa and her friend Carol, and you can’t help but cheer them on as they begin to unravel this incredible family mystery.

This is a book you will find very hard to put down! 

Nancy C.
Library Assistant, John M. Harper Branch

Nancy has worked at the John M. Harper Branch as a Library Assistant for over 11 years. Her best days are when she can introduce readers, both young and not-so-young, to new authors/series. She feels like a kid in a candy store at the library, always amazed at the new finds that she discovers. She loves the wide selection of movies/TV series and has done a good number of the amazing puzzles that are in the collection. Nancy sings in a local choir and hits the stage with a theatre production company in New Hamburg. She is an avid reader, gardener, golfer, and newly back to skiing after a 30-year hiatus.