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Bittersweet

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3.44  ·  Rating details ·  14,841 Ratings  ·  1,750 Reviews
Suspenseful and cinematic, 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 Ve
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Hardcover, 381 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Crown
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Miranda Beverly-Whittemore It's set now! But I wanted the reader to have the disorienting feeling you describe. Keep in mind that Mabel is narrating the whole story, and she has…moreIt's set now! But I wanted the reader to have the disorienting feeling you describe. Keep in mind that Mabel is narrating the whole story, and she has cast herself as a kind of romantic character in the midst of the gothic web- it fits in with her vision of herself and the place that she has some nostalgia for bygone days. It also gave me the opportunity to show the reader how deliberately cut off from the world Winloch is. It's not that the Winslows couldn't be in constant contact with the rest of the world; it's that they don't want to be (or at least the people in charge don't want them to be). Thanks for taking the time to ask!(less)

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Joodith
Apr 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Mabel Dagmar, the narrator of this tale is the dowdy, dumpy roommate of Genevra (Ev) Winslow – slim, beautiful, petulant and spoilt young brat of the Winslow clan. Ev tolerates Mabel – only just – but then, surprisingly, invites her to spend the summer at Winloch, the summer home where the whole family gathers. Oh Joy, thinks Mabel, as she jumps at the opportunity to escape her own awful family for a few months. She grabs what few clothes she possesses and her copy of Paradise Lost – a not too s ...more
Elyse
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Majority was audiobook. The last 100 -150 pages I read my physical hard copy.

NOTE: This is now a $1.99 Kindle special! GREAT PRICE............(very enjoyable for a $1.99)

Ev and Mabel are roommates at a prestigious east coast school.

Ev is thin, blonde, suntan, traditionally glamorous & styled appropriately. She comes from wealth. Privileged, bored, and aloof....she tolerates family expectations....positively seething as if being asked to be polite is an outrageous sacrifice. She has grown t
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Pamela
May 28, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2014
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephanie
Jul 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Read more reviews at Inspiring Insomnia.

After finishing Bittersweet, I’m wondering if I was supposed to love the MC, Mabel, or to hate her. I suspect we’re supposed to regard her as plucky and resourceful, but she’s really quite awful. When we meet her, she’s in the midst of what looks like a Single White Female type of obsession with (or possibly a crush on) her beautiful roommate, Ev Winslow. I thought that this had the potential to be fun, but that angle is quickly discarded for a ho-hum mu
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Amber
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Bittersweet is one of those stay up all night and read no matter how early you have to get up in the morning kind of books. I tried to savor it as long as possible because I knew that I would mourn finishing it. Desperately wanted to share it with high school and college girlfriends who would completely understand the complexities of the Mabel/Ev dynamic. Can't wait to buy it for friends and family so they can get just as lost in this incredible page turner.
Kate
May 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
This book has everything one might expect from literary fiction--unlikable characters, overblown metaphors, disturbing sexual scenes, and an ending that reminds you of the emptiness of modern life.
Cindy
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Bittersweet is a very intriguing novel from beginning to end. Mabel, a poor and plain looking college student, is invited by Ev, her beautiful and very wealthy roommate, to spend the summer at Bittersweet. Bittersweet is one of many cottages located on an expansive estate that has been in the Winslow family for decades. It is a place to relax, swim, play, eat and enjoy all the advantages of the wealthy Winslow family.

However nothing is as perfect as it seems and as Mabel becomes more involved i
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Meredith
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs, summer
This will be a solid choice to recommend for those looking for a good beach read this summer, or a book-group read anytime. Family secrets, New England summer cottages-by-the-lake, longing-to-belong, burgeoning womanhood, great atmosphere and setting description.
All combine to make this a compulsively readable Brideshead tale of the attraction and repulsion of being on the periphery of wealth and privilege. The prose lacks a little polish (stock characters and expository retreads of discoveries
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Judy Collins
Mixing truth with Gothic fantasy for an eccentric and dark ride ---a family of secrets and lies, violence, madness, corruption, deception, and greed. Welcome, to BITTERSWEET Vermont by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore!

From the mysterious front cover, you try and prepare yourself for what lies behind the walls, the people, and their lives . . Nothing can prepare you for chilling events to unfold, nor the ones from the past yet to be discovered.

This mesmerizing novel, reminded me a bit of The Great Ga
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Daphne Atkeson
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok
Pathetic sophomoric attempt at a modern gothic, desperately in need of editing "she opined"--dragged out, sluggish, clunky, etc. I would have tossed it against the wall, but I had to see how bad the train wreck actually was. Better than I expected or I'd have given it one star. The positive review I read must have been a favor to somebody important somehow. Any decent genre romance would have been more tightly written. Totally predictable, totally obvious, so many obvious answers to stupid quest ...more
Sophie
Feb 22, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karin Slaughter
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book that is hard to talk about without giving too much away, so rather than throw down some spoiler alerts that no one pays attention to except the best among us* I will say that I really loved reading this.

*yeah, I blow past spoiler alerts. What's it to you?
Rebecca
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I'm not completely sure what to make of this. On one hand, it was well written and kept the pages turning. On the other, it was too long, the pacing slow and the author resorted to using too many cliches.

Mabel Dagmar is a scholarship student at a college with a spoiled princess for a roommate. After bonding briefly, Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at the family's compound in Vermont. Mabel, desperate to not return to her parents, agrees. Once there she is dazzled by the wealthy blond people
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Michelle Silvan
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm a self-admitted slow reader, and I tore through Bittersweet. It's beautifully written with a gripping story, making it a fast and enjoyable read.

The Vermont estate where the book takes place really draws you in, giving you the sense that it's both devastatingly beautiful and creepily haunting. (Much like some of the characters in the book.) I really felt like I was there and like I was getting to know Mabel, as she was getting to know herself. And without giving anything away, I loved the u
...more
Robin
Sep 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gothic-tone
This was an enjoyable come-of-age story with a gothic tone and great setting. One "secret" was easily figured out about halfway through but the other was a bit of a surprise. With its foreboding tone and doled out family revelations, this is a good readalike for Kate Morton and Kimberley Freeman.
T. Greenwood
I read a MS version of this book and it is FANTASTIC. Cannot wait until it comes out, and I get to see it in its finished form.
Diego Sanchez
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-endings
This book was a “buying surprise” for me, because I found it around more than half the price in the library, so I was very suspicious about if it was good or not, but here are my thoughts on it. As a key note, I recommend it if you like “We were liars”.

-Plot/Development: The book is about Mabel Dagmar, who gets a scholarship to one of the most famous and rich universities. There she meets Genevra, who becomes her friend, because of an unfortunate event in her family. That is when Ev (Genevra) de
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Lauren Cecile
Dec 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Started out interesting, but plateaued real quick, before I was halfway finished. The characters were not believable, borderline stereotypes of rich people. And the idea of a perfect stranger rifling through a family's private, personal papers is crazy.
Jeannie
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
This was really good, suspenseful, with lots of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. This is the kind of book that keeps you up late at night because you can't wait to see what happens. I could not put it down. Highly recommend!
Debra
Sep 26, 2016 rated it did not like it
1.5 stars

I can read a book in 2 days. It took me that long to get through the first 100 pages. Then I kept reading because it was book club and it was sort of like "where the hell is this going to go". It wasn't enjoyable per se, but I wanted to see just where it was going.

All the main characters were unlikable, but that doesn't always stop me from enjoying a book. They weren't even unlikable in the "they're so unlikable I love it" way.

The rest of the story moved along quicker - maybe because I
...more
Cecaspi
Dec 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
You really can't miss this book. I got my hands on an advanced copy when I was sick in the hospital and NOTHING could have been better distraction! As the story unfolds, the idyllic setting of a Vermont summer house gives way to some spine-tingling revelations for the main character, Mabel. I found it well-paced and beautifully written. The book is about many things, but perhaps the ones everyone can relate to are the themes of belonging, and the stories we tell ourselves in our friendships. Rea ...more
Carolyn
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
2.5 stars.
Felt I was reading a well written soap opera, where the use of descriptions was better than the plot.
A poor, plain scholarship student, Mabel, is attending a posh college. Her roommate Ev is beautiful, snobbish and ignores her most of the semester.It comes as a surprise when Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at her family's lakeside estate in Vermont for the summer. Mabel is delighted and excited at the prospect. She badly wants Ev as a friend, and feels estranged from her own fam
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Fictionophile
This review was originally published on my blog: Fictionophile

Our human nature always leads us to assume that the ‘grass is always greener’. We tend to think that others’ lives are happier, more fulfilling, more successful, etc., etc. When on the rare occasion that we actually get what we have coveted, we find that the result is bittersweet.

“Bittersweet” is essentially the story of two college students. Ordinary Mabel Dagmar, a scholarship student with a blue-collar background, and blue-blooded
...more
Shirley Showalter
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I received an advance copy of this book, having enjoyed the community Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is building with her wonderful www.friendstory.com project. What follows is my honest review.

Plot is a strength of this book. Briefly, a scholarship girl at a fancy college, Mabel Dagmar, gets the chance to summer with her roommate's rich and famous family, a family the average reader may associate with the Kennedys or Bushes. Her roommate donates a Degas to the college collection, leaving Mabel in a
...more
Erica
May 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely unputdownable. From the first page to the last, you're sucked into the veritable Garden of Eden that is Winloch. The setting of the story is so rich and layered that it becomes a main character in a story of twists and turns that grab you and leave you physically ill at moments from the unexpected jolt. Paralleled with the moral tale of Milton's Paradise Lost, you follow the tale of Mabel Dagmar as she takes a bite out the succulent apple that is the Winslow family's generosity and qu ...more
Hannah • So Obsessed With
Listen, this isn't a happy read. One secret in particular is quite disturbing, but the sense of foreboding creates a darker tone from the very beginning of the book. And yet I still really enjoyed reading this story! As unenjoyable as aspects were, Bittersweet was written in a way that had me riveted. I think this book would be perfect for fans of gothic mysteries or people who enjoy suspenseful stories, unreliable narrators or secrets lurking beneath a picture perfect surface.

See my full review
...more
Sara
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
This was a well-written novel, but I felt as if I were reading it from a distance. The problem for me was that I didn't find any of the characters likable. It's so hard to care about a story when the people in it leave you cold. I don't believe that the Winslow family, who were the focus of the story, were meant to be likable. They were rich and powerful, pretty much did what they wanted, and certainly didn't care who was stepped on along the way. I wanted to root for awkward Mabel Dagmar as she ...more
Carol Brill
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Good writing and much too dark for my taste. Mabel and her college roommate, Ev barely tolerate each other so it's surprising when Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bitterweet, her cottage on her privileged family's compound in Vermont. Soon after arriving at Bittersweet, Mabel starts to unearth Ev's family's disgusting secrets and history. Seduced by their wealth and power, she must decide whether to expose their greed and atrocities or keep their dark secrets and be accepted into the cla ...more
Krissy
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
It didn't totally suck. Kinda like a Lifetime Saturday afternoon movie doesn't suck. The ridiculous one that you watch because there's a thread of an interesting plot and a whisper of a mystery you just can't figure out. Then in the end you find out that your first inkling was correct. I solved the mysteries at the first mention of each secret. Not because I'm that good, but because the book wasn't.
Jessica
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was skeptical going into this book, due to the pretty low ratings, but I actually LOVED it! Winloch is basically its own world set apart, where the wealthy Winslows can enjoy their sanctuary without even deigning to mingle with commoners, except their servants. The mystery had so many twists and turns, and small details that kept shocking me over and over. Great novel!
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I love to meet with book clubs, either in person in the New York area, or via phone or Skype. Please email me: mirandabeverlywhittemore@gmail.com

I write novels. My fourth, JUNE, will be out from Crown Publishing on May 31, 2016.

My third novel, New York Times bestseller BITTERSWEET (Crown Publishing, May 2014), is set at the home on Lake Champlain where I spent my summers as a little girl. But that
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“I was young, still so young, that I thought my lack of wholeness was somehow my fault. I had no idea everyone feels this way—that the most essential part of growing up is figuring out where your empty places are and learning how to fill them by, and for, yourself.” 1 likes
“I know you're picturing gold candlesticks and infinity pools, but this place they made isn't decadent, no, it's rustic in the way only a rich person's place can be, with money flowing under it invisibly, so that they get to pretend they're just like the rest of us.” 1 likes
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