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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins


By Miranda Beverly-Whittemore ISBN-13: 9780804138567 Publisher: Crown Publishing Group Publication date: 5/13/2014 Format: Audio Narrator: Cassandra Campbell My Rating: 5 Stars

Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong. On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs. But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact - and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev's world her own

My Review

Mixing truth with Gothic fantasy for an eccentric and dark ride ---a family of secrets and lies, violence, madness, corruption, deception, and greed. Welcome, to BITTERSWEET Vermont!

From the mysterious front cover, you try and prepare yourself for what lies behind the walls, the people, and their lives . . Nothing can prepare you for chilling events to unfold, nor the ones from the past yet to be discovered. The mesmerizing novel, reminded me a bit of The Great Gatsby--the house, and the strong obsession to be a part of the powerful, alluring, wealthy lifestyle—and the lengths a person will go, to achieve (an outsider’s hunger to belong). Until they discover there is always price to pay –a deal with the devil. A pattern of evil emerging from behind the plush facade.

The chosen one – enticing the character into a world of intrigue, mystery, wealth, and power; however, be aware- things are not as they seem, but sometimes you are in too deep to escape.
A riveting thriller, keeping you on the edge of the seat, with suspense building from beginning to the surprising twist towards the end. I highly recommend the audiobook, as Cassandra Campbell performed the part flawlessly!
Miranda Beverly-Whittemore's heroine is an outsider invited into the secret, world of the super-rich, yet dark and mysterious. She plans each step, with precision; pacing and holding back enough for the buildup, and climatic ending.Mabel – the protagonist, invited by her beautiful and wealthy college roommate Geneva (Ev), to spend the summer at the family’s estate cottage in Vermont.
She looks at this family and desires to become one of them, and compares it to her life. She never wants to leave. However, both girls have a secretAs the story unravels, nothing is as it seems, and the past may resurface for their worst nightmare. Are these people nuts? Mabel cannot understand why they are cleaning the house, when this family is rich enough to hire people do these tasks—and the locks?
The summer starts out wonderfully (like Gatsby), with picnics, parties, romance, and late night swims in this idyllic setting. Slowly, the Winslow family becomes strange, as secrets continue to be covered up, as Mabel aggressively begins to uncover more about these century old secrets from older journals. As the summer becomes even more complicated, an eccentric aunt of Ev’s requests Mabel to learn more about the family’s secrets.
One source is the mysterious Winslow money, with rumors of incest, and more evil - pointing to Birh, Ev’s father. Aunt Indo who claims that the family is out to get her and promises her cottage to Mabel if she can find the necessary information to help her.She begins questioning good versus evil, and how will she escape this madness? What a twist with the reference of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden.
Near the ending--so many details coming to the surface, I had to rewind to ensure I did not miss anything.
BITTERSWEET also contained some of the funniest and sarcastic lines--found myself laughing out loud. Brilliantly written - Look forward to reading more from this masterful storyteller!





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