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On Scholarship At A Prestigious East Coast College, Ordinary Mabel Dagmar Is Surprised To Befriend Her Roommate, The Beautiful, 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 Than A Century It S The Kind Of Place Where Swimming Boldly Is Required And The Children Twirl Sparklers Across The Lawn During Cocktail Hour Mabel Falls In Love With The Midnight Skinny Dips, The Wet Dog Smell Lingering In The Air, The Moneyed Laughter Carrying Across The Still Lake, And Before She Knows It, She Has Everything She S Ever Wanted Wealth, Friendship, A Boyfriend, And, Most Of All, The Sense, For The First Time In Her Life, That She BelongsBut As Mabel Becomes An Insider, She Makes A Terrible Discovery, Which Leads To Shocking Violence And The Revelation Of The True Source Of The Winslows Fortune Mabel Must Choose Either Expose The Ugliness Surrounding Her And Face Expulsion From Paradise, Or Keep The Family S Dark Secrets And Redefine What Is Good And What Is Evil, In The Interest Of What Can Be Hers

10 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. says:

    Mabel Dagmar, the narrator of this tale is the dowdy, dumpy roommate of Genevra Ev Winslow slim, beautiful, petulant and spoilt young brat of the Winslow clan Ev tolerates Mabel only just but then, surprisingly, invites her to spend the summer at Winloch, the summer home where the whole family gathers Oh Joy, thinks Mabel, as she jumps at the opportunity to escape her own awful family for a few months She grabs what few clothes she possesses and her copy of Paradise Lost a not too subtle comparison the author tries to draw between the paradise that is Winloch and Milton s classic which Mabel never manages to finish, despite that fact that she drags it with her whenever she goes.Despite the wealth of the Winslows, Winloch is made up of various dilapidated cottages, each with it s own twee flower or plant based name, Bittersweet being one of them Other unlikely ones are Jack in the Pulpit and Queen Anne s Lace I m all for giving houses names, but these are just plain silly Likewise the names of the Winslows not a Chardonnay or Sharon, Kayden or Kylie among them no, these people bear names such as Galway, Luvinia, Athol and Birch as befits their wealth and standing.The characters are obnoxious and mean even Mabel is thoroughly unlikeable Acutely embarrassed and angry at being found in a compromising position she thinks nothing of spying on at least two couples engaged in sexual activity, never for once thinking how they would feel if they knew they were being watched Mabel is encouraged by an old Winslow crone to dig up some family dirt, secrets from generations ago, a task she undertakes with relish She is selfish, greedy and sneaky actually like a Winslow than she realises, but I somehow don t think this was the author s intention.The story becomes and far fetched the further it goes until I got to the point where I really didn t care what happened to any of these horrible people However, I persevered but feel annoyed that I wasted so much time on it.This book has been compared to Tigers Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann Whilst they are both stories of wealthy families spending their time in summer homes this is where the comparison ends Although I didn t particularly rate the latter it is better than this which is so clunky and clumsy, liberally sprinkled with outdated words and phrases which I found irritating The author labours under the belief that the descriptive narrative the better, so she piles it on, however the result is an overblown novel which now I have, thankfully, read the last page, I will not think about again.

  2. says:

    Majority was audiobook The last 100 150 pages I read my physical hard copy NOTE This is now a 1.99 Kindle special GREAT PRICE very enjoyable for a 1.99 Ev and Mabel are roommates at a prestigious east coast school Ev is thin, blonde, suntan, traditionally glamorous styled appropriately She comes from wealth Privileged, bored, and aloof.she tolerates family expectations.positively seething as if being asked to be polite is an outrageous sacrifice She has grown tiresome, maneuvering through the verbal minefield as a daughter from her strange high society Winslow family Only a freshman in college, and already Ev, has developed her snobby bitch girl attitude like a champ Mabel the narrator of Bittersweet , lacks the snobby bitch girl skills She s a scholarship student, loves literature, art history, has a high GPA, yet because she doesn t have blond hair, isn t traditionally bone thin, or own many nice clothes, we see a bright girl promptly ready to sell her soul for a little Ev flattering This tale kicks off into high gear when bitch girl invites in aw of the rich and bitchy , Ev invites Mabel , to her summer compound known as Winloch The Bittersweet Compound..off the shores of Lake Champlain in Vermont Turns out Mabel is surprised to see how shabby the houses are In Ev s family it s a tradition that before a sibling inherits ownership of one of the houses they must first prove they can clean, decorate, remodel, and transform a shabby house pass inspection before allowed full privilege to claim it theirs So, Mabel helps Ev with the summer cleaning That s not all she cleans In the meantimeMabel, girl on the sidelines , is coaxed into spying on all the family members Disturbing secrets are uncovered about almost every character in this story Twists turns cliffhangers nutty fun mysterywith interesting characters I think the best way to enjoy this novel is to suspend reality beliefs roll with the flow It s not a novel without flaws The characters could use a course in enlightenment but as an audiobook it was a great walking tantalizing juicer.

  3. says:

    Man, I ve really got to stop reading this crap I mean, it seems fine in theory read something easy and suspenseful entertainment But it never works I always end up wanting to punch the book in the throat and get annoyed at hours of my life that I will not be getting back The narrator here is dense and annoying, but chubby and therefore relatable She is obsessed with a rich family with dark, dark secrets What kind of secrets Hint starts with i and ends with ncest Also, Nazis.Paradise Lost gets referenced a ridiculous number of times The mentions went from painfully clunky to downright embarrassing within the first 50 pages I think it might have had some sort of symbolism Maybe

  4. says:

    Read reviews at Inspiring Insomnia After finishing Bittersweet, I m wondering if I was supposed to love the MC, Mabel, or to hate her I suspect we re supposed to regard her as plucky and resourceful, but she s really quite awful When we meet her, she s in the midst of what looks like a Single White Female type of obsession with or possibly a crush on her beautiful roommate, Ev Winslow I thought that this had the potential to be fun, but that angle is quickly discarded for a ho hum murder mystery involving Ev s family.But first, we need to get Mabel to Ev s family s summer compound, known as Winloch It seems that Ev has only the most minimal amount of tolerance for Mabel, so I was as shocked as Mabel was when Ev invited Mabel to visit her family for the summer Mabel leaps at the opportunity anything to be close to Ev and to win her affection When the girls arrive at Winloch, Mabel is surprised to see it consists of somewhat shabby houses Aren t these people supposed to be rich Ev then tells Mabel that she needs help cleaning up one of the houses so that her mother and father would transfer ownership to her No, it didn t make much sense when I was reading it, either.Quite suddenly, unbelievably, and without provocation, Mabel transforms from Ev s lapdog into an overbearing, scheming villain With a tiny bit of coaxing from one of the Winslows, Mabel begins to spy on all of the family members She s instructed to take them all down, and her reward will be one of the Winslow s houses She inserts herself into the middle of the family drama and pries into their financial affairs She spies on them while they re having sex She feels perfectly entitled to ownership of a house that has been in the family for generations If that s not enough, here s a few of Mabel s not so shining moments When someone reveals a pregnancy to Mabel, Mabel s first thought is, How is this going to disturb MY life She bursts into tears at a restaurant because she s under dressed She s upset at the gift of a friendship bracelet from a younger girl, because rich people are supposed to give extravagant gifts She feigns sympathy with a mother bereaved over the loss of her son in order to pump the woman for Winslow family secrets She s informed that a family member to whom she s grown close is dying of brain cancer, but moments later, Mabel is laughing and continuing on her quest to take down the Winslows She resents a dog for not properly thanking her after she rescued it.The Winslows aren t any better than Mabel, but at least their wickedness is unintentionally cartoonish What s the point of Bittersweet That rich people are evil, twisted, and sick Even the few good ones in this family are characterized mostly by their cluelessness and their total lack of regard for their family members.Bittersweet would have worked better as a telenovela Unfortunately, it fails as a high falutin novel.Note I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  5. says:

    Bittersweet is one of those stay up all night and read no matter how early you have to get up in the morning kind of books I tried to savor it as long as possible because I knew that I would mourn finishing it Desperately wanted to share it with high school and college girlfriends who would completely understand the complexities of the Mabel Ev dynamic Can t wait to buy it for friends and family so they can get just as lost in this incredible page turner.

  6. says:

    This book has everything one might expect from literary fiction unlikable characters, overblown metaphors, disturbing sexual scenes, and an ending that reminds you of the emptiness of modern life.

  7. says:

    I m not completely sure what to make of this On one hand, it was well written and kept the pages turning On the other, it was too long, the pacing slow and the author resorted to using too many cliches.Mabel Dagmar is a scholarship student at a college with a spoiled princess for a roommate After bonding briefly, Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at the family s compound in Vermont Mabel, desperate to not return to her parents, agrees Once there she is dazzled by the wealthy blond people so perfect on the surface but rotten underneath.Aunt Indo encourages Dagmar to investigate the family s origins by working through the old financial records Indo, like Ev, shows signs of bipolar disorder, constantly demanding Dagmar to solve the mystery while giving her little to work with I found myself getting frustrated with passages that went no where and a cast of people in desperate need of industrial strength therapy At the end, I wasn t even rooting for Mabel She d grown tiresome desperate to join this family of sociopaths and criminals But Bittersweet would probably make a great beach read Better than Paradise Lost which Dagmar spends the summer with, puzzling over its themes of embracing evil while never understanding the warnings about such an action.

  8. says:

    Bittersweet is a very intriguing novel from beginning to end Mabel, a poor and plain looking college student, is invited by Ev, her beautiful and very wealthy roommate, to spend the summer at Bittersweet Bittersweet is one of many cottages located on an expansive estate that has been in the Winslow family for decades It is a place to relax, swim, play, eat and enjoy all the advantages of the wealthy Winslow family However nothing is as perfect as it seems and as Mabel becomes involved in the family, secrets are revealed and terrible and disgusting discoveries made Poor Mabel She is in a dilemma She loves the good life but if she reveals secrets she may lose what she thinks is important to her This is the story of good versus evil, morals, and the price one pays to live your dream life This story is very engaging and suspenseful Very much a page turner especially the last 50 pages I won this ARC from LibraryThing.

  9. says:

    This will be a solid choice to recommend for those looking for a good beach read this summer, or a book group read anytime Family secrets, New England summer cottages by the lake, longing to belong, burgeoning womanhood, great atmosphere and setting description All combine to make this a compulsively readable Brideshead tale of the attraction and repulsion of being on the periphery of wealth and privilege The prose lacks a little polish stock characters and expository retreads of discoveries might bog the astute reader down but that didn t stop me from turning the pages, wanting to find out what was going to happen The ending was far from pat, and stayed true to the overall tone and postlapsarian theme that no one is entirely innocent.

  10. says:

    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 by Miranda Beverly Whitte 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 This 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 Cassandra Campbell performed flawlessly Miranda Beverly Whitte 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 about these century old secrets from older journals More complications an eccentric aunt of Ev s requests Mabel to learn about the family s secrets One source is the mysterious Winslow money, with rumors of incest, and 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 from this masterful storyteller JDCMustReadBooks Stay tuned for her upcoming JUNE A Novel, coming May 31, 2016 5 Stars