Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kelly's review of "Bitter Greens"


Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Allison & Busby, 25 February 2013
Twitter Hashtag: #BitterGreensVirtualTour


I received Bitter Greens about a week ago in the mail and was pretty worried that I wouldn't get it finished in time. However, even at almost 500 pages, I finished it in less than 12 hours! It was simply - and I don't EVER use this word lightly - unputdownable and is already a contender for my favorite book of 2013.

Bitter Greens is a retelling of the fairy tale about Rapunzel, but it still so much more than that. It's the story of three women: Selena, a great Venetian beauty in the early 16th century, who in order to preserve her youthful looks, kidnaps Margherita (of course not named Rapunzel, but that still has a part) in order to feed off of her youth, and Charlotte-Rose, a former lady in the court of French king Louis XIV who has been banished to a nunnery and is having the story of Selena and Margherita told to her. Sound confusing? It may be at first - if you need a better explanation, click HERE for the book's goodreads page. The POVs are not sequential and jump around a fair bit, but soon enough you'll get used to this. Kate Forsyth is one of the most wonderful storytellers I've come across - everything from the decadence of Versailles to the stink of Venice was written so vividly.

Charlotte-Rose's story is by far my favorite. Of course I love reading about kings and their courts, but Louis XIV is one of the best and Charlotte-Rose's role in it all was intriguing. She is a person who really existed and is a wonderful person to read about. She wrote books, was sassy to the king, and rescued her lover by dressing up as a bear. It was interesting to see her change from a fancy, liberal court lady to a humble woman in a nunnery. I can't wait to check out some biographies about her! In all three stories, witchcraft plays quite a big role, and as a historical novel, there is always some danger in those stories. Bitter Greens is a great look into the beliefs and laws of the times. God forbid if you were anything but Catholic in either France or Italy during these times! You'll certainly read about these wars and prejudices as well. I love that I received subtle history knowledge while reading an entertaining story.

I was going to offer up my copy for a giveaway but I've just become too attached to it (and the gorgeous cover)! If you guys do want a chance to win a copy, hit up the link under the banner for some blogs that may be having giveaways. I encourage you to do so as I can't recommend this book highly enough! 5+ stars.

17 comments :

  1. After long time i have read very different and interesting blog. I really enjoyed it during reading it.

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  2. Wow... a book that is so amazing you couldn't part with it, I can't wait to check this out. I love historical fiction books and the idea that this also is a retelling of Rapunzel really peaks my interest. Great review!

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    1. It's gotta be good if I can't part with it, coming from someone who has absolutely NO space left for books!

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  3. This books sounds fantastic! Definitely going on my hunt down list :)

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  4. I saw this book on Amazon, but not available through Amazon. :-(

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  5. I can't wait to read this one! I heard about it fairly recently. The book drew me in because it's a fresh take on Rapunzel - which is a fairytale, which I LOVE. I definitely need to find my own copy to read soon!

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    1. I've read several retellings of Rapunzel (one of my favorite fairytales as well) and it's by far my favorite!

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  6. This one sounds so good! I think I might have to check it out!

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  7. Thanks so much for the brilliant review - I'm so glad that you loved my beautiful Bitter Greens so much. For all those kind people who think they might like to read it , don't forget Book Depository has free shopping! Happy reading :)

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    1. Thank you for the opportunity to read it! It's a new favorite :)

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  8. I've wanted to read Bitter Greens now for a while, even before it was published in the UK recently. I love historical fiction and I love fairy-tale retellings, so it seems like a good match. I'm glad to have come across your review of it - the first review I've read and a super positive one! Both the Italian and French stories sound really interesting, and I do love it when authors are able to weave together different storylines in a novel. Wonderful review! And I do hope it comes out in the US at some point...

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    1. Check to see if it's on Book Depository! They have free shipping to the US.

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  9. Great review. I was uncertain whether I wanted to read. I'm interested in historical fiction but I'm not big on fairy-tale retellings. But this review has persuaded me enough that I'll have to pick up this book soon. Thanks!

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    1. It doesn't really seem like a fairy tale at all, which is a plus since a lot of retellings are fluffy and illogical sometimes.

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  10. Well, you've convinced me! I was attracted to that cover and that title already but after so many retellings letting me down, I was wary of picking another up. It sounds like this one is worth it though. *goes to track down my own copy*

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    1. I couldn't stop staring at the cover!

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