Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore


Synopsis

One perfect family.
Too many perfect lies.

In every glossy picture of the American society pages, there’s an Ev Winslow. Disarmingly beautiful, and – naturally – tall, athletic, with a smile that’s perfect. Small-town Mabel Dagmar has never known anyone like Ev, and now she’s sharing her college dorm – even if she is completely ignored. But suddenly they’re friends and Mabel can hardly believe her luck when she finds herself summering at the Winslow family’s luxurious estate, Winloch, in Vermont.

Winloch is like a small village, with each of the perfect Winslow children inhabiting a pretty white cottage. Days spent swimming in watery coves evaporate into nights at glamorous cocktail parties where Mabel sits alongside the scions and the fountainhead of this prestigious family. And as the formality melts away with one particular Winslow brother, Mabel is left to think that her summer has all but become a golden dream.

But when Mabel meets a disgruntled member of the family, she can’t help looking a little closer at the Winslows, probing beneath their glossy exterior. And what she uncovers in their past is almost as shocking as what she finds out about their present. Beneath the beauty is a rotten core.

And not everyone is quite as they seem.


Review

Bittersweet was incredibly addictive. Even though it was pushing towards the longer novels than I usually read, I found myself drawn to it again and again. I just had to finish it. 

When Mabel gets an invite to stay with Ev at Winloch, that is when the real story begins and I liked all the subtle hints you get as to what is amiss. As we get introduced to more and more Winslow's I enjoyed the complexity of each of the characters. Even Mabel seems to be hiding something that is alluded to throughout Bittersweet. I love the concept of how not everyone is as they seem and the ones who you may not like on the surface may actually be nicer than those that you initially warm to.

I liked the mystery and intrigue surrounding the Winslows and I became just as curious as Mabel did about them. The one thing I kept thinking about was the locks on the doors and why they were really there.

As this novel is written in the summer months, I really felt transported to Vermont, it was so easy to imagine that I was at Winloch with Mabel and Ev. The descriptions were perfectly set up and it created a great contrast to being in the idyllic place of Winloch with a darkness lying beneath it, just like the book's title, Bittersweet.

Maybe some of the shocking revelations that came to light were unrealistic, but this is fiction and they still fit within the novel. They were certainly jaw dropping findings to me and just when you think the big secret has been revealed there is more!

This is a very dark and complex novel that you will either love or hate.

4/5

Bittersweet is available from Amazon UK and Waterstones

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