Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore


About the Author: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

“Bittersweet exposes the Gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong.”

I found myself absolutely intrigued by the growth of Mabel Dagmar, an ordinary college student with humble beginnings as she befriends her beautiful, rebellious, privileged and manipulative roommate, Genevra “Ev” Winslow.

Mabel is invited to spend the summer at Bittersweet, Ev’s sweet little cottage on the Winslow’s estate, Winloch, in Vermont. In the midst of late mornings, afternoons lounging by the shore, sailing excursions, Mabel meets Ev’s eccentric aunt, Indo Winslow, who sends her on a nearly impossible mission to expose the truth of the Winslow family’s darkest secrets.  As weeks turn into months at Bittersweet, Mabel finds friendship, love, access to wealth, but most importantly, a fulfilling sense of belonging – at quite the cost. In this game of chess, we see how just one summer can forever change the course of one’s life. In nature, the creatures with the most vibrant, extravagant display of colors can be the most dangerous. “None of them had ever known the embarrassment of not belonging.” So, for the sake of survival, Mabel blends into the twisted lifestyle of the Winslow family, causing me to audibly exclaim some expletives… as I sat alone… in a public place.  However, it was absolutely justified as Mabel unveiled the secrets hidden in the attic of the Winloch dining hall.

I absolutely could not put this novel down. Though the plot set-up was long, the climax kept reaching newer heights, putting my anxiety into overdrive. Plainly put, the Winslow family (with the exception of a few) are sociopaths – and I love it! Bittersweet tells a story so deep, so tragic and so suspenseful, I began searching to see if Shakespeare had written a play of similar circumstances. Yes. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s brilliant mind was just compared to the likes of Shakespeare.

As a pitiful victim of “friends with money,” this story brought me back to the summer of 2006 spent at St. Simon’s Island, GA. The popped collar polos, aspiring golf stars, conversations about the cost of the coffee table daddy bought, those memories of mine just came flooding back. I easily envisioned Mabel’s face as my own – though, I will say, I’m now somewhat grateful for ending my summer trip when I did.

I have to give Bittersweet 5 out of 5 stars and I highly recommend this book for your next read. Even better, I must see this suspenseful thriller on the big screen.  Pick up your copy of Bittersweet directly from the publisher here!

Want more inside scoop of the author’s latest happenings? Visit Random House’s updates here.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review.


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