Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an American dynasty, and an outsider's hunger to belong.
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 more 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 belongs.
But 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.
When I started this one I could not put it down, I read for hours, enthralled by the lyrical prose. It was such great language and a well crafted story.
Awkward Mabel' has a cool roommate who invites her to stay at their family cottage, make that cottages. They have a lot of them and each family member has one of their own when they are old enough. Mabel comes out of her shell, but at the same time is that truly a good thing? Are the Winslows good people? I liked her mind, but the world is grey, and that is shown.
Her friend Ev is all over the place with her own secrets. The book is about Mabel realizing she is quite alone there. Making her own friends, digging into family archives. Something sinister lies at the bottom of this place. As the story progresses the tone changes in a way, makes the prose haunted and hunted for that matter too. And the secrets that unfold, they are quite the secrets indeed. The title fits well too, the end is truly bittersweet.
It's a book you will not be able to put down, and one book that I do recommend you to try.
Hardcover, 400 pages /Fiction
Published May 13th 2014 by Crown