Friday, June 20, 2014

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

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.

I have to admit I had a hard time with this book at first. I had read some reviews and the description above and thought "I would really like this!" - but I didn't. I wanted to, I struggled to....but I didn't. But, I said I would review it - and I really wanted to like it - so I read it.

And am I ever glad I did! Although it's set in the recent past (people use cell phones) it feels like the 60s. Rich and powerful people, stealing away to a secluded family compound. The patriarch everyone respects and fears. The lovely but aloof matriarch. The adult children with their young children visiting. The eccentric aunt. A few "outsiders" - guests of the teen-aged family members. Swimming, fishing, barbecues. Idyllic days spent in the sun. Beautiful people. New love. And mayhem and murder.

The characters were wonderful! The descriptions of the houses and the compound were glorious. There were twists and turns - things are not always what they seem.

I simply loved this book and could not put it down.

I do want to point out there is some language and some sex.


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"I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

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