This coming of age story grabbed me from the first paragraph. I loved the constant twists and how everything tied together at the end. The author, Miranda Beverly-Whittmore, gives the main character, Mabel Dagmar, a wonderful voice throughout the story. Anyone who stood on the outside looking in as a young adult will relate to Mabel and anyone who didn't will gain insight into the life of someone less fortunate.
This story delves honestly into how one's actions--no matter how well-intended--can twist into tragedy. Speaking of intentions, there's evil ones too, leaving me with my mouth agape. Not one character, be it Ev, her family, or even Mable, was predictable...or ended up how I pictured in my mind.
This author has a gift. She lulls the reader in a soft, unassuming way, and then shocks with a surprise, twist or downright I-can't-believe-that-just-happened.
I love the turns along the gravelly path in Bittersweet. I adore the cottages, each with a personality, and dubbed after a flower. And every one of them have bolts upon the door...even the bedrooms and bathrooms. Why, in such an idyllic and private setting of the Winslow Retreat is there a need for this? This was the earlies hint of the secrets waiting to be divulged.
Mabel is the narrator in this story, with her perspective fluctuating between her disdain of her underprivileged past, and that of her wealthy roommate, Ev Winslow--and the desire to be like her.
I looked at the picture of the gathered Winslows above my desk, although it was as silly an enterprise as opening the menu of a diner you've been going to your whole life. I knew every blond head, every slim calf, as though her family was my own~excerpt from Bittersweet
The descriptions the author pens are amazing. I could smell the dank forests, feel the shock of water against my skin...or basking in the warmth of the sun. I could smell the food in the dining hall, and I shivered at the whisper of secrets nagging to be told.
The rhythm of the story soothed, shocked, and spattered in imagination, littering my mind with the constant--yet not overdone--twists and plots throughout the story.