Return to Bitter Creek takes place in Bitter Creek, North Carolina, during current times. There are many acres of beautiful land. There are a lot of trees and plants. The weather is seasonal, although mild during the winter. Most of the action occurs at a farm, and in a house. Although the story involves family conflicts, and could take place anywhere, the setting was relevant to this plot because a lot of what happened involved nature, horses, and rural jobs. Lacey Bittner is the main character. She is a teen-aged girl who lived with her mother, Campbell, and her mother’s boyfriend, David. Lacey is upfront, honest, hard working, efficient, and kind. When someone is rude she tells them how she feels. For example, she tells her mother when she thinks her mother is being inconsiderate. Whenever she has a job to do, like making a cabin in the trees, or clearing the pasture for the horse, she gets to it right away, and continues until it’s done, even late at night. She tries to fit all her activities in, including school, sports, and taking care of her horse; she is responsible. Even though her mother doesn’t get along with the rest of the family, Lacey is still pleasant to them.
The main conflict is man vs. man. This is a story about a family who just can’t get along with each other. There are personality conflicts between mothers and daughters, and cousins and cousins. There is squabbling over such things as who can spend time with whom, and who will drive to school.
Campbell, Lacey’s mother, lived in Bitter Creek her whole life, but she didn’t get along with her family, especially her mother. She moved away to Clio, Colorado with Lacey, being single. She met a man name David. They were very close and lived together, but weren’t married. They moved back to Bitter Creek, North Carolina because David found a blacksmith job there. When they arrived in Bitter Creek, they bought a little house.
Lacey went to school with her cousin Tam. Campbell didn’t like the idea of Grandmother bringing Lacey to school, so she tried to keep her on the bus. Although Lacey’s mother is protective, Lacey manages to make new friends and spend time with her grandmother. During the summer Lacey was bored because Campbell and David were always working. Tam and Lacey became good friends, although they have some fights. Lacey learns a lot about wildflowers from a book David gave her and from her grandmother.
One day Lacey comes home to find out that David bought seven acres of land. The family decided to clear the pasture, build a fence, and get a horse. The extended family always had Sunday dinners, frequently at David and Campbell’s house, but Campbell, Grandmother, and Tam rarely came. Every one else has a great time and loved to ride the horse. Lacey named the horse Polly. Lacey joins the flag corps team when school started again. David and Lacey build a cabin in the trees. Lacey was always busy with many activities aside from the cabin, which she didn’t get to work on as much as she would have liked. One day while David was working on the cabin he had an accident and died. This is the climax of the story. After this the family comes together (sort of) and learns to accept each other.
Uncle Kenny and Lacey finish the cabin. Campbell mopes around because David died. One night Campbell and Lacey had to move to the barn because there was no money to pay for the house; the barn had been paid for for several months by David. Lacey used to go to folk dances with Campbell and David a lot, but she never had the courage to dance in front of anyone. Finally she did with her family. Lacey’s mother became friendly with Grandmother again. Campbell finished one of David’s blacksmithing jobs and got $2000. Polly had a baby horse and Lacey named it Trillium (a wildflower). Grandmother made a beautiful quilt and gave it to Campbell and Lacey. Everyone tried to get along with each other.
I absolutely loved this book. I would recommend this book to