This Bitter Earth

This Bitter Earth

4.6 34
by Bernice L. McFadden
     
 

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In This Bitter Earth, Sugar Lacey is on her way out of Bigelow, Arkansas, where she’d come to break with the past. With her worn leopard-print suitcase and her head held high, she walks past the prying eyes of its small-minded, cruel-hearted townsfolk, praying for the strength to keep going. She doesn’t stop until she arrives at her childhood

Overview

In This Bitter Earth, Sugar Lacey is on her way out of Bigelow, Arkansas, where she’d come to break with the past. With her worn leopard-print suitcase and her head held high, she walks past the prying eyes of its small-minded, cruel-hearted townsfolk, praying for the strength to keep going. She doesn’t stop until she arrives at her childhood home in Short Junction.  Here she learns the truth about her parentage: a terrible tale of unrequited love, of one man’s enduring hatred, and of the black magic that has cursed generations of Lacey women.  A powerfully realized novel that brings back the unforgettable characters from Sugar, McFadden’s bestselling debut, This Bitter Earth is a testament to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“McFadden’s sensuous prose and folk wisdom conjure a memorable character with complexity and grace.”  —People magazine

“At times dark and haunting but ultimately hopeful, This Bitter Earth is a riveting tale of courage and triumph.” —Heart & Soul

Reading Group Guides.com
Earthy and richly evocative, [This Bitter Earth] is a testament to the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452283817
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
12/17/2002
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
502,673
Product dimensions:
5.46(w) x 8.14(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
18 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Bigelow
Winter 1955

Chapter 1

Sugar made her way down the road. The wind pushed at her back, hurrying her along and away from Bigelow and the people that gathered at the door of the church to watch her departure.

The women hugged themselves for warmth and smiled while nodding their heads and clucking their tongues in triumph while the men, including the Reverend Foster, lifted their collars against the gale as they watched Sugar's long legs and hefty bottom fade away into the gloomy night. The men hung their heads; they would miss her and the pleasure she'd given them.

Good pussy gone traveled through their minds as they patted their thighs in tribute.

Sugar walked with her head up and shoulders back as she slowly made her way down the road that had brought her to Bigelow. She moved past Fayline's House of Beauty, which was closed and empty, but the laughter that had been had there at Sugar's expense still echoed in her mind, fusing with the wind, adding to Sugar's sadness.

Sugar rounded a tight bend and the darkness swallowed her. Bigelow's residents cocked their heads and strained their eyes as they tried to penetrate the blackness, but she was gone. Not even the light tap-tap-tap of her heels could be heard.

Satisfied, they returned to their pews and their Bibles as if she had never been there at all.

Once out of their view, Sugar crumpled, her shoulders slumped and her head dipped. The secret she carried with her tore at her heart and filled her eyes with tears.

The secret hollered inside of Sugar's mouth, rattling her teeth, pushing her tongue to curl the words out. Sugar would not speak it, but she did write it.

She'd scrawled it on the corners of napkins and at the bottom of the obit section of the county newspaper. She'd written it on a page in the Sears catalogue, the one displaying hunting knives.

She wrote it in block letters, sometimes in pencil or black ink and once, just once, in red.

She kept those tiny slips of truth, folded into neat squares or crumpled into tiny balls, hiding them away in her coat pocket, because she knew she would be leaving Bigelow and she had to take the secret with her.

Lappy did it.

When she got to the mouth of town and was sure that the eyes of the Bigelow men and women were far enough away, she reached into her pocket and pulled her secret from its depths. They were heavy, those three little words on those tiny bits of paper, heavier than the blows that Lappy Clayton had covered her body with, but not as heavy as the casket that held Jude's body.

Sugar released the papers to the wind and watched as they danced and skipped their way across the cold hard ground. She covered her ears as the words screamed out to her:

Lappy did it. Lappy did it. Lappy did it.

Sugar wouldn't tell, but someone else one day would find one of those pieces of paper and they would.

She moved on, hoping that she would never have to return to Bigelow but knowing that she would. Her life had been tailored that way.

Her departure only guaranteed her return, and every step forward just put her two steps closer to where she had been

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“McFadden’s sensuous prose and folk wisdom conjure a memorable character with complexity and grace.”  —People magazine

“At times dark and haunting but ultimately hopeful, This Bitter Earth is a riveting tale of courage and triumph.” —Heart & Soul

 

Customer Reviews

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This Bitter Earth 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Anonymous 10 months ago
A moving sequel of Sugar's life. This story tells about her healing emotional , physical , and mental. There is a saying that everything comes in full circle . This was a great follow up and I couldn't put it down because I just had to know what became of Sugar Lacey and I was not disappointed at all.
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aprilshowers101 More than 1 year ago
Bernice McFadden tells a story like none other. Sugar encaptured me and still This Bitter Earth leaves me wanting to know more about the rest of Sugar, Pearl, Seth and JJ's lives. Her other nivels under the pen name of Geneva Holliday are just as riveting but offer a different tone frim the writer. I recommend them all
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good from beginning to end...I had a hard time putting it down.
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Mzdooly More than 1 year ago
This book captured how Sugar faced her demons and learned the truth about her pass. Good book!
Nik Matt More than 1 year ago
good sequel
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read "This Bitter Earth" and was instantly drawn to the characters and their stories. It examines how some of the most unlikly friendships can devlop if we give others a chance and opportunity to know us. True friendships take on their own form, it doesn' always fit neatly in designated areas or is just used to impress others.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. It is a great conclusion to Sugar. These two books are the only two that I faithfully recommend to anyone who asks if I know of any good books. I love the language of the book. Everyone has a purpose and the characters are well developed. Every question is answered. Full of surprises.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading about Sugar in the first novel so when this book was released, I was very excited to find out what would become of Sugar. The author does a great job of putting all the pieces together in a neat little package--leaving nothing unknown. If you enjoy happy endings....Read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This conclusion to Sugar was great. The ending of Sugar left secrets and surprises that all come out. Sugar has calmed down and soften a bit, but still a fiesty girl. Pearl and her husband are still wonderful and supportive to Sugar which all lead up to a great ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i read both sugar and this bitter earth in a half a day.yet these where books you can't put down once you start reading from start to finish.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book because someone had recommeded it. I can't really say it was all that. In the begining the book is very slow and you had better pay close attention or you will miss key clues and people. To be quit honest I thought the book did alot of dancing around with the characters and the events. I think the only reason for me finishing this book was because I had already invested time and energy in it to just not finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I did not get around to reading this book until I was in the hospital July of 2002, and I must say this book made me forget where I was! If you read Sugar you must read This Bitter Earth to answer any questions that were raised! Bernice, you paint such beautiful pictures with your prose, I again am so happy to know you and thank you for your sharing your amazing gift with the world! Much love and continued success!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thorough enjoyed reading both books and recommended them highly to friends and family. The vastly 3 dimensional characters, all real and whole, along with Pearl's supernatural 'gifts' worked well together for me. I won't divulge the plot, but Ms. McFadden's storytelling style is second to none as she lyrically manipulates us into loving the loveable and despising the despicable (there are times, even, when she evokes at least a little sympathy for the despicable!!). Not your average cup of tea, some elements here are a bit chunky to swallow, but then again such is life. Read...Enjoy...GOD Bless