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Monday, May 12, 2014

(42)Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore



Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: May 13, 2014

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Mabel Dagmar is not used to the wealthy families that feed her prestigious East Coast family.   Her roommate, Ev Winslow, comes from one of those families where the children donate a piece of art (think Van Gough) to the museum of their choice, so they are about as opposite as they can get.  The Winslow's  are old school wealthy and everything Mabel wishes her family could be.  Mabel jumps at the chance to avoid her own family and join Ev and her family at their summer "camp" in Vermont.   Which is really an estate with a mansion surrounded by dozens of small cabins that house the extended family.   Of which one is given to each child on their eighteenth birthday.  Bittersweet is the name of Ev's cabin.

Mabel is looking forward to the long summer days of reading, exploring the woods and lounging by the water.  She does not expect to fall for Ev's brother, Galaway, or  befriend Ev's eccentric Aunt.  And she certainly doesn't expect Ev's Aunt to send her on a treasure hunt of sorts that would bring to light decades worth of Winslow dirty secrets.  But what happens when those secrets start surfacing will shock her even further. What will happen when those secrets are exposed to the world? Will the great and powerful Winslow's forever banish Mabel from their kingdom?

Bittersweet is one of those books that you are going to be hearing about all summer.  The poor mousy girl being included in the wealthy family's vacation has all the makings of a great novel.  Mabel is a great character because the author does such a fabulous job of  exploring her feelings of inadequacies.  Ev is one of those carefree characters that is pretty insensitive to Mabel and her friendship more than once, but still Mabel keeps hoping that their friendship will get blossom into a lifelong friendship that will always make her part of the Winslow family.  The rest of the Winslow clan is so animated that they almost seem cartoonish.  From Lu, the youngest sister to Tilde the reigning matriarch, they all have their secrets to keep.  Also, the setting of the novel is one that will just captivate you.  The summer beauty of Vermont is evident in every page.

Bottom line, there is a real Gothic feel to  Bittersweet with the crazy Aunt and spectacular scandals that will have you furiously turning pages. . And boy oh boy, those scandals would light up a book club discussion like the Fourth of July!  If you are looking for a good read to pass away the time on your summer vacation, you will not go wrong with Bittersweet.