I was drawn to Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore the first time I saw it sitting there on the shelf. The beautiful script hovering over an idyllic scene in muted tones suggested that all might not be as well as it appeared. I snatched it up and eagerly read the cover flap, hoping the premise would be as interesting as the cover was. I wasn’t disappointed.
Maybel is a scholarship student from humble roots that gets thrust into the world of a high-profile, white collar family when her capricious roommate invites her to spend the summer at Bittersweet. She is quickly swept up into the casual elegance and power of the Winslow family. As her fascination with them grows, Maybel starts digging into the family’s past. The reader experiences the family as Maybel does, in a coming-of-age realization that things are not always what they seem.
The plot moves forward slowly, driven by the enigmatic characters themselves as opposed to a succession of events. The author adds just enough foreshadowing to keep the reader engaged without being obnoxious, and once things escalate, they do so relentlessly. And we discover that the Winslow family just might not be the only ones harboring secrets. I was especially pleased with the book’s conclusion. A little optimistic, perhaps, but it’s nice to find a book that closes with a sense of hope and triumph.
Overall, I thought this was a very engaging and pleasant read. I wouldn’t recommend it to those wishing to avoid language and sexual content; however, if you’re fascinated with the secrets people keep and why, this book is definitely for you!