Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens

Book rating: 04 Hardback

By (author) Kate Forsyth

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  • Publisher: ALLISON & BUSBY
  • Format: Hardback | 496 pages
  • Dimensions: 153mm x 234mm x 41mm | 757g
  • Publication date: 25 February 2013
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0749013621
  • ISBN 13: 9780749013622
  • Sales rank: 24,935

Product description

Charlotte-Rose de la Force, exiled from the court of King Louis XIV, has always been a great talker and teller of tales. Selena Leonelli, once the exquisite muse of the great Venetian artist Tiziano, is terrified of time. Margherita, trapped in a doorless tower and burdened by tangles of her red-gold hair, must find a way to escape. You may think you know the story of Rapunzel ...

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Author information

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults. She has won numerous awards and been published in fourteen countries around the world. She is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of A Mother's Offering to her Children, the first book for children ever published in Australia. She lives by the sea in Sydney with her husband, three children, a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback, a bad-tempered black cat, and many thousands of books. www.kateforsyth.com.au

Customer reviews

By Emily Nguyen 27 Jan 2014 4

The quality of the book is AMAZING and beautiful. I legitimately stroked it for five minutes before cracking it open to read.

The plot was enthralling and absolutely fascinating. It was creative and very well written. The size of the book is a little daunting at first, but the book soccer punched me in the face then reeled me in like a suicidal, slightly drunk fish.

It was a little confusing at some points on a negative point, and requires a mature reader as some parts are quite violent with some *spoiler* rape scenes.

I recommend all of Kate Forsyth's works. All are an absolute delight to read.

By Jessica Tamm 18 Apr 2013 4

I was surprised at how quickly I became very interested in this story. Bitter Greens follows the lives of three very different women, yet all three are wonderfully interwoven.

The majority of the book is about Charlotte-Rose de la Force who has been exiled from the court of Kind Louis XIV. We learn about her and her character through mainly flashbacks before she was forced to go into the convent.

While there, she is told the story of Margherita, the second main woman of this book. Margherita's story was a wonderful fairytale retelling of Rapunzel and I found that to be my favorite part the book.

The third and final main character is Selena Leonelli, a witch and once the exquisite muse of the great Venetian artist Titian. I love how this story combines historical fiction as well as fairytales.

Kate Forsyth portrays that she is able write about the three distinct historical settings very well and really got me interested! There were many complex issues brought up in this book! I love that Kate Forsyth is the kind of author that makes you learn to love the characters that at first you thought you hated.

Recommended for fans of historical fiction.

Warning: the book contains graphic rape scenes!

The book depository kindly sent me a review copy of the book.

By Monaliz @ Mind Reading? 29 Mar 2013 4

My rating: 4/5 stars

*May contain some spoilers*
Bitter Greens ended up being a captivating story mixing both fiction and fantasy! This was both a fairytale retelling of Rapunzel and historical fiction revolving around Charlotte-Rose de la Force's scandalous life.

About half the book is about Charlotte-Rose de la Force and her life. Thanks to some scandals, king forces her to move to a convent, where life isn't fun and games.
Then there's the story of Rapunzel, which locates to Italy in the 16th century. This is the part containing most of the fantasy, yet I still ended up loving Charlotte-Rose's story more. Somehow it just seemed more relatable and the story just flowed. I could've read a book solely concentrating on Charlotte-Rose!

Through the book there's a lot of jumping back and forth in time, which many times confuses me. I don't usually get easily confused, but I never seem to remember which year we're in, so I always have to browse through earlier chapters. And when you add different stories and characters to that.. Oh my, I should've been completely lost!
Yet, the author managed the jumps brilliantly, even my chicken brain managed to stay focused!

This was kind of a risk for me to read, since I usually stick to young adult literature if possible. And tend to avoid any historical- something. So when I actually ended up enjoying this book, I was so happy! Because it's always a pleasure to find a great read, and it's somehow even more amazing when it's out of your comfort zone.
You don't like historical fiction? You should try this out! Love historical fiction? Again, you should definitely try this out.


My thanks to The Book Depository for providing the review copy!

Love,
Monaliz @ Mind Reading?

By Iris 29 Mar 2013 4

Bitter Greens holds three stories that are seamlessly interwoven: a retelling of Rapunzel through the tale of Margherita, a girl who ends up trapped in a tower, the story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, who is exiled from the court of Louis XIV and learns about Margherita's tale at the convent where she is forced to stay, and the tale of Selena Leonelli, the beautiful muse of Venetian artist Tiziano, who will do anything to counter her fear of time.

In offering the reader these three stories, Kate Forsyth portrays that she is able to evoke the feel of three distinct historical settings, and to bring them to live for her readers. Moreover, she engages with complex issues such as female agency, oppression and power, and the many forms of love.

I loved this book for its complex storytelling, its wonderful worldbuilding, and its ability to make you care deeply for all characters involved, even if they do not always make the best choices.

Recommended for fans of Margo Lanagan's fiction, and for anyone who enjoys a thematically complex and powerful storyline.

(warning: the book contains graphic rape scenes).

The book depository kindly sent me a review copy of the book.

Review quote

'I so enjoyed Kate Forsyth's Bitter Greens: a fabulously tangled web of fairy tale and historical romance... Heartbreaking. Exquisitely sensual.' Essie Fox, author of The Somnambulist. 'History and fairytale are richly entwined in this spellbinding story. Unputdownable!' Juliet Marillier, author of Daughter of the Forest