Bittersweet: A Novel

Bittersweet: A Novel

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore


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Suspenseful and cinematic, New York Times bestseller Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege 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, wild, 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. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.

But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact--and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev's world her own.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780804138581
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 04/28/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 178,453
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

MIRANDA BEVERLY-WHITTEMORE is the author of three other novels: June; Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, given annually for the best book of fiction by an American woman; and The Effects of Light. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize in Fiction, she lives and writes in Brooklyn.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Excerpted from "Bittersweet"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Miranda Beverly-Whittemore.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Bittersweet: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finished it the other night...still can't get it out of my mind. Would definately recommend. I read alot but rarely find a book that sticks with me like this one. I stayed up late a couple nights, I just didn't want to put it down! I can't wait for more from this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review from Net Galley.  Thank you Net Galley and Random House for this opportunity!!! Definitely a YA book because it deals with two college aged friends.  However, as an adult I enjoyed it as well.   It is a GREAT beach read as most of the book is set on a lake near the Adirondacks in Vermont.  I felt myself falling in love with the scenery around there. That being said, I also enjoyed the story of a poor little rich girl, Ev  inviting her poor dorm mate, Mabel to her family camp for the summer.  A chance that Mabel jumps at ecstatically.   She had been dreading spending the summer with her family.   But, was Mabel invited to spend the summer for a reason? While spending the summer at Winloch, the name for the commune that Ev's family has had in the family for generations, Mabel learns a lot about herself and this somewhat eccentric family. A couple of events were predictable but in absolutely no way did they take away from the story line.   The final ending was totally unpredictable. I found this book to be very entertaining and once again, would be a GREAT beach read.   I recommend this book.
JodyJ More than 1 year ago
There is certainly plenty of mystery throughout the book with odd happenings and interactions among the characters to keep the pages turning on this nearly 400 page book. Interestingly, not all the mysteries were hashed out at the end of the book, leaving some open questions in my mind. It is not a book that left secrets open because there is a sequel coming - the epilogue pretty much assured that. It left me feeling slightly unsatisfied. Throughout the book, you spend your time trying to decide who's lying, but there's also the question of whether you care that they're lying, which is almost a bigger issue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a fabulous read!! Bittersweet is a beautifully constructed book, laying the groundwork of plot, characters and setting slowly, then picking up speed as things begin to happen, and finally racing off to an unpredictable and thoroughly rousing end. If you want to spend your time reading about sweet characters acting out a conventional story, this is not the book for you. But if you relish complexity--in both moral and narrative terms, and if you delight in gorgeous descriptions of a beautiful place, and want to be provoked into thought and discussion, this book is a winner. Yes, Bittersweet is over the top, but over the top in all sorts of delightful ways. Get ready for a heady ride!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I came across this book review in People magazine and cannot resist the tale of a rich family with skeletons in their closet. I found the characters to be interesting and although I figured out one plot twist early, the others came as nice surprises. The author really made me feel like I was spending summer in Vermont. I could, at times, feel the warmth of the sun and see through the narrators eyes. My only critisicm is that the ending felt a little rushed. Other than that I loved this book amd couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bittersweet is this fantastic disorienting novel that will haunt you way past the time you finish reading. I found myself staying up all night just to finish in one sitting, so plan accordingly. We follow Mabel who, much to her surprise, gets invited by her roommate, Ev, to stay at her family’s summer compound. Mabel and Ev have a very complex relationship. Life becomes great for Mabel, but nothing is as it seems - making the title Bittersweet just perfect for the novel. With Mabel narrating the whole story, there are a lot of secrets to be revealed about Ev’s family. Just how far will Mabel go to keep the good life? The story has unlikable characters and this unrelenting tension you can just feel while reading. That may be why the book has received some comparisons to Gone Girl. Although this was my first from Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, she has certainly proven to be one fantastic writer. She successfully wrote the most original coming-of-age novel I have read in quite some time. The writing is just so unbelievably beautiful. The descriptions throughout are to die for. A setting is created that completely encompasses the gothic tone. This is definitely a story that will resonate with you. Bittersweet is a wonderful piece of literary fiction. A great beach read - just in time for summer! I’d recommend to fans of books about wealthy families with secrets, The Secret History, and just simply good mysterious books. I received Bittersweet for free in exchange for an honest review through the Blogging For Books program.
Lindz2012 More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a mystery and secrets, you have come to the right place for you get a lots of that and history about the place. Though this book It start out in college and it really get more and to where you want to find out more. The family clan Winslows. There a all kind to find out. Things you will find out about Mabel Dagmar. Mabel want to be friends with her roommate and be a part of her. She find so family secrets that snows about and some Murders to go along with. You will not want to put this book down for you will find that their two boys that are part of the clan and when they do. you either be surprise or shocked or even just wanted to know more, g There is just so many things and if you like to head summers or history in cottages and for you may want to read it. I though the author had me guessing wanting to read more and I was stuck with this book in hand for a whole day reading it and I really did not want to put it down. .
RandomAmb More than 1 year ago
Bittersweet: an extremely well written, unique, intriguing, mysterious tale about family, wealth, corruption, evil, and love. When reading Bittersweet, I never knew quite what was coming next. When I formed expectations, I was often surprised by what actually happened. The one word that flashed through my mind over and over again when reading Bittersweet was ‘classic.’ I honestly feel like this book could be an American classic. It reminded me of The Great Gatsby early on, but it’s much more than a tale about wealth and greed. Bittersweet is at once unbelievable and believable–both unrealistic and realistic. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and I loved and hated it. Beverly-Whittemore’s characters are complex yet accessible. I rooted for Mabel, but I also despised her at times. Ev is very much Daisy Buchanan in my mind–I want to love her,  but she makes it difficult. I very much enjoyed this book, and it’s one that I will keep on my bookshelf forever. The cover is gorgeous, and the story still has my mind reeling [weeks later!]. Bittersweet may be a bit out of your comfort zone [as it was mine], but I urge you to read it. I’m sure it will leave an impression! [And isn't that what we want from literature?] If you like reading classics and stories about family greed and outsiders, this book is definitely for you. However, I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction. Bittersweet is intriguing, well written, and unexpected. Don’t miss it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read a lot of stories about dysfunctional families but, this was by far the worst. I won't be reading anything further by this author.
Beverly_D More than 1 year ago
Bittersweet, the word, is a taste, an emotion, a plant, and in the case of this novel, a cottage on a family estate, near the shores of a Vermont lake. Bittersweet, the novel, is also many different things wrapped up together. I received a free copy of this novel via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Mabel, the narrator, is a pudgy, asthmatic scholarship student with a troubled past, who finds a loathing-to-loving (think "Wicked," the stage play) college friendship with her roommate: slender, wealthy, privileged, Ev (Genevra) Winslow, of THE Winslows. New bestie Mabel is invited to spend the summer with Ev at Winloch, a huge private family estate where cellphones and e-devices are banned, but dogs are welcome (and abundant). Because of the absence of computers and the like, the Winloch scenes are almost dreamlike, with a this-could-be-any-era feeling, with cleaning the cottage, family dinners, swimming, and socializing the main activities. In the beginning, what Mabel wants (does she want Ev as a friend, or lover? Or does she want to BECOME Ev?) feels muddy, and the pacing feels slow, despite some hints that's all's-not-well-in-Paradise with the installation of multiple deadbolts on the Bittersweet cottage doors. Mabel is soon drawn into various family mysteries, and discovers some ugly family secrets, that someone - perhaps the entire clan - is willing to kill to protect.  There are sex scenes, explicit but not particularly erotic, IMO, and discussion of rape, incest, suicide... These all fit the story, and didn't bother me, but readers who find these issues triggering might want to avoid. The feel is summerlike and sleepy, AND Gothic and brooding, and whether Mabel will escape or be sucked into becoming one of THEM is not revealed until the very end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like incest, rape, and murder at the old family summer place, this book may be for you. Not to mention ridiculous situations and very unlikeable characters, as well as theft of works of art from victims of the Nazis. The prose is wordy and there are some grammatical errors. Don't bother.
18876111 More than 1 year ago
This book was definitely out of my comfort zone in terms of genre. I normally don't read thrillers or suspense novels. I loved this book. It was full of intrigue, excitement, and secrets. Eventually, those secrets are uncovered. There were some events that happened in the story that definitely caught me off guard and I was shocked by them. I also really enjoyed that this book didn't tell, it showed, that's how descript the writing is. I loved the character growth and development, I especially loved the relationship between Mabel and Galway. I would definitely consider reading this book again, but I would read it in the summer. It's definitely more of a summer read, rather than a winter read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed it !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the worse books I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I almost didnt finish, after about 75 pages i put it down and read something esle, i am so glad picked it back up! READ THIS BOOK IT IS AWESOME
Virginiaw More than 1 year ago
This was not what I was really expecting when I started this book. It was so sad in a lot of ways. One believes that their family is messed up and then they hear about people like this. It can be hard to start college and live in a dorm. Getting to know your roommate is very difficult when you are each such different people. What happens to these two roommates (Mabel and Ev) is such a great story that will make you laugh and cry. Even in the end it is hard to dislike either girl or feel sorry for either. It is a fascinating story and helps you love your own family more. I received a copy of this book from Blogging for books for a fair and honest opinion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
a very interesting book with several twists and turns!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bookmom2 More than 1 year ago
This was just what I was looking for, a great beach book.  Easy to read and interesting enough to keep you up at night wanting to know how it ends. I'm looking forward to trying another Miranda Beverly Whittemore book in the near future. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not quite the Worst but certainly a light year away from the Best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago