A heartfelt, comic, and deeply satisfying debut novel from the #1 bestselling author, singer-songwriter, member of Canada's Music Hall of Fame and star of her own hit TV sitcom. A little bit All Creatures Great and Small, a little bit Fargo and all Jann Arden!
On mean Harp Bittlemore’s blighted farm, hidden away in the Backhills, nothing has gone right for a very long time. Crops don’t grow, the pigs and chickens stay skinny and the three aged dairy cows, Berle, Crilla and Dally, are so desperate they are plotting an escape. The one thing holding them back is the thought of abandoning young Willa, the single bright point in their life since her older sister, Margaret, ran away. But Willa Bittlemore, just turning 14, is planning her own rebellion. Something doesn’t add up in the story she’s been told about her missing sister, and she's beginning to question if her horrible parents are even her parents at all. Just as things are really coming to a head, a bright young police officer starts investigating a cold case involving a baby stolen from a little rural hospital 28 years earlier, and Willa and the cows find out exactly how far the Bittlemores will go to protect a festering secret. Written with Jann’s trademark outrageous humour and full of her down-to-earth wisdom, The Bittlemores is a rural fairytale, a coming-of-age story and a prairie mystery all-in-one, saturated with her observations of the world she grew up in and her deep connection to the animals we exploit. This marvel of a first novel digs into how people come to be so cruel, but it also glories in the miracle of human kindness.
About the Author
JANN ARDEN is a singer, songwriter, actor, author and social media star. The celebrated multi-platinum, award-winning artist was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 2021. She continues to record and tour, and in 2022 released her fifteenth album, Descendant. She has written four books, including a memoir of her early life and path to music, Falling Backwards, and her two #1 bestsellers, Feeding My Mother and If I Knew Then. She is the star of her own hit TV sitcom, Jann, which debuted in 2019 and recently aired its third season. She also hosts the weekly Jann Arden Podcast, exploring what makes humans authentically themselves.
“Get ready to add this novel to your canon of beloved growing-up tales, because if there’s anyone who can take on the vulnerability and determination of the young adult years with a perfect combination of heart and humour, it’s our national treasure, Jann Arden.” —Canadian Living
“Arden’s take on poverty, alcoholism and the long-term impact of neglect, isolation and abuse occasionally recalls the work of Southern Gothic writer Flannery O’Connor or New Brunswick’s David Adams Richards. On the other hand, it is also comical. It has an endearing coming-of-age story at its centre, told in snappy first-person narration by a wise-beyond-her-years 14-year-old girl named Willa.”—Calgary Herald