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Bitterroot Landing

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Bitterroot Landing introduces Jael, born into a hard life, but a survivor. She will survive even River Bill. The almost impersonal kindness of strangers will rescue her; a priest with a good heart will shelter and teach her; a careful man will take his time and love her back into the world. Voices have always spoken to Jael in her mind, and some of what they have told her to do has been frightening. But the voices she hears now speak of comfort and courage, teaching her to master the ways other people manage to ...
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1997 Trade paperback First edition. New. SHIPS FIRST CLASS UPGRADE from NJ: 2-3 DAY DELIV( US); GIFT-ABLE as NEAR NEW, UNREAD FIRST, FAST DELIVERY; NEAR NEW (subtle shelf life ... sign) AS SHOWN THIS PHOTO Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 288 p. Audience: General/trade. 8998 8998--For all those who loved Bastard out of Carolina, here is a powerful new voice in women's literature--and a heroine readers will never forget. Jael is a survivor. She will survive even River Bill. The voices she hears--voices of women both real and imagined--will make her stronger every day. And one day she will understand that they were all a part of what will become her own voice. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Bitterroot Landing introduces Jael, born into a hard life, but a survivor. She will survive even River Bill. The almost impersonal kindness of strangers will rescue her; a priest with a good heart will shelter and teach her; a careful man will take his time and love her back into the world. Voices have always spoken to Jael in her mind, and some of what they have told her to do has been frightening. But the voices she hears now speak of comfort and courage, teaching her to master the ways other people manage to live. Jael has a job now, cleaning in a church, and a room of her own in the church's basement. As she dusts the statue of the Virgin Mary, the Virgin speaks peace to her. "There's definitely too much hurt around here," she says. "In flaws, you find the truth," says the small, dark figure of a woman Jael sculpts out of wax. "Come and look at the moon," says the homeless woman she meets at the laundromat. "Hello, I'm an incest survivor," say the women in the recovery group that meets every week in the church, just the other side of Jael's room. Voices both real and imagined make Jael stronger every day, until she finds she no longer needs them. Until she finds that at last she has a voice of her own.

By the age of 21, Jael has survived the death of her mother, abuse by her father, and abandonment by another man. But the kindness of strangers will rescue her when a social worker, a gentle priest, and a careful man love her back into the world. Voices both real and imagined make Jael stronger every day, until she finds she no longer needs them.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Reynold's first novel is an original, lyrically written tale about an incest survivor's recovery. By age 21, Jael has experienced the loss of her guardian, whom she accidentally killed 10 years earlier; sexual abuse by the man who subsequently adopted her; and abandonment by another in the swampy, Southern backwoods setting. Educated by her guardian and on her own, Jael is utterly unprepared for the wider world she finally enters. A social worker, a survivor's group and the inhabitants of a local church community ease her move into society and her gradual understanding of what has happened to her. Reynolds makes minimal use of the psychological jargon of victimization; Jael, quirky and dead sure of her instincts, is a beautifully realized character. The novel's suggestion of an almost mythic female spiritual power, and the abundance of religious imagery, including the presence in the village of the Madonna, is occasionally tiresome, and the male characters are not as fleshed-out as the female ones. Still, Reynolds aims high and just about hits the bull's-eye, displaying a self-assurance and a taste for moral and social issues that make her debut a most welcome one. Literary Guild alternate. (Jan.) Mystery
Library Journal
Sexual abuse has become such a familiar staple of mysteries and other fiction that its central place in this slender first novel is no surprise. What is surprising is how it becomes a spiritual catalyst for Jael, a victim whose search for peace leads her beyond the comfort of professional therapy. Opening and closing her story with the antiphonal "Gods change colors and spin themselves new garments every day," Jael communes with spirit voices, meets real people, and risks friendships to find new ways to worship what is familiar and divine. Reynolds transforms an abased and self-mutilating girl into a mystical avatar able to radiate her godly attributes. This transformation is achieved without romanticizing the gritty realness of her life. She is poor and rough, and her harsh life is accurately portrayed. Yet, in her thoughts and actions, Jael is given a lyrical and convincing expressiveness. For fiction collections needing fresh visions of contemporary themes.-Barbara Conaty, Library of Congress
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425162460
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/1/1997
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.08 (h) x 0.65 (d)

Meet the Author

Sheri Reynolds was born in rural South Carolina and now lives in Virginia. She has taught English at Virginia Commonwealth University, Old Dominion University, and The College of William and Mary. She is at work on a new novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2001

    A MOVING NOVEL OF ABUSE, HEALING & RECLAMATION

    With BITTERROOT LANDING, Sheri Reynolds turns her talents to a dark, uncomfortable (for many) subject -- child abuse and incest. The main character, a backwoods-raised young girl named Jael, is a heroine in the truest sense of the word. Suffering unspeakable abuse at the hands of her grandmother (and her 'patrons'), her adoptive father (who turns her into his wife), and a stranger, she retreats within herself -- her subconscious does its job and shuts down her memories until she can more readily deal with the pain they involve. Through self-searching, along with the loving and caring help of a social worker, a priest and a friend, she makes the journey backto the source of her pain and terror -- and we make that journey along with her, thanks to Reynolds' empathy and talents. This is one of the two best-written works of fiction on this subject that I have read (the other is mentioned below). In Reynolds' hands, the story is moving and compelling, and intelligently treated. When I got this book, I read it three times inside of a week -- I couldn't believe how good it was. All three of Sheri Reynolds' novels are wonderfully written -- but few books have ever moved me like this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2001

    Not her best, but still very good

    I found this book to be a well written novel, though I enjoyed Rapture and Gracious Plenty more. It was still one of the better books I have read and I recommend it to anyone who likes the work of Sheri Reynolds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2001

    What can I say?

    Bitterroot Landing was a great book I had to read it for school so at first i was like ok another boring book. No way though this book was great. I got the book on Sunday and finished 12 midnight I could not put it down.Then of course I wanted to read more books by her and so far all her books Ive read are great. you cant put them down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2001

    Fair Read

    I read this book because I enjoyed 'The Rapture of Canaan' very much (another Reynolds creation). Again, she presents us with a well-written story, but in my opinion, 'Rapture' is much better. Truly, if Jael were a real person she would be touring the talk shows with her life story! A little too extreme for my taste. Try 'Rapture' instead!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2000

    A Most Painful Music

    With a poet's touch Sheri Reynolds crafts a lyrical work of beauty. It is sad and beautiful and discordant, like the fiddle cry of Appalachian Moutain music, it recounts in honesty a life well worth remembering.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 18, 2000

    primal

    When i read this book, i longed to have the freedom jael had when she was completely on her own in the woods. due to the negative effects that other people place on ones sexuality, a girl has to be cautious when it comes to love and trust. when jael is ready, she can make a happy ending.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2000

    Bitterroot Landing.....wow!

    I read 'The Rapture of Canaan' and was amazed with how well written it was! I just had to read the other ones! So, My friend bought me the other two for Christmas!! I really liked 'Bitterrott Landing' alot. I could feel how Jael felt. It is a simple written story, but I really enjoyed it; try it out!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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