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Bittersweet

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  5,544 ratings  ·  788 reviews
Do bonds between sisters ever break? Edda, Grace, Tufts and Kitty didn't think so. The four Latimer sisters, famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit and ambition, have always been close; always happy. But then they left home to train as nurses, swapping the feather beds of their father's townhouse for the spartan bunks of hospital accommodation. And now, as ...more
Hardcover, 528 pages
Published October 1st 2013 by HarperCollins Australia
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Susan Tufts real name was Heather, but Kitty (a younger twin) was unable to speak the given name. Their nurse gave the twins some tufts of heather in an…moreTufts real name was Heather, but Kitty (a younger twin) was unable to speak the given name. Their nurse gave the twins some tufts of heather in an attempt to show Kitty what Heather was named after. Kitty was able to SAY "tufts", so that's when the nickname stuck.(less)

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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,544 ratings  ·  788 reviews


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Brenda
Edda and Grace were the elder twins by twenty months; their half-sisters Heather (Tufts) and Kitty formed their tightly-knit group of four – different mothers, the same father; they were all destined for different life paths back in the days of 1920s Australia. The fact that their father’s wife; Tufts and Kitty’s mother, Maude was a huge influence on their lives was known, but it was not in a good way. Maude was oppressive and she made no bones about letting everyone know her favourite child was ...more
Naomi Stephens
Feb 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Oh dear. The formidable McCullough seems to have descended to the depths of trashy supermarket fodder. Ok, maybe I'm being a tad harsh. But this book failed to live up to expectations. There's nothing really groundbreaking about a coterie of sisters escaping a domineering mother figure and trying to make their own way in 1920s Australia. And the story of the domineering mother figure was not as well explored as it could have been - in fact, she was dispensed with a convenient disease about mid w ...more
Lili
Apr 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
I didn't think the writing was terrible...I just felt like it didn't go anywhere. There was no serious development of character or plot, no in-depth description of life during the depression. Everything was described by the narrator in very long, boring paragraphs rather than shown to me through the characters and plots. The characters themselves were 2-dimensional and each felt rather unrealistic and summed-up through 1 facet of their personality (the serious one, the smart one, the pretty one, ...more
Carol Preston
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Three and a half for this story, set in Australia between the first and second World Wars, which follows the lives and loves of four sisters, two sets of twins, who enter nursing training, and become embroiled in hospital administration, in politics, in new medical discoveries and the ambitions of men. Throughout the Depression years, the sisters discover their strengths and weaknesses, their aspirations and resources. There's a lot to be learned historically in this story and some things to be ...more
Shosh
Jan 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
A truly woeful book - are all the people giving this book 4 & 5 stars Mills & Boon fans?! If I read one more time about someone's eyes changing colour I'll scream! The idea of the book is good and will probably make a good mini series (with the right writers). It's been a long while since I read Colleens books and remember enjoying them but will now have to review them again to see if they are as bad as this!
Celia
Bittersweet takes place in Australia before and during the Great Depression.

The story centers on 4 girls, 2 sets of identical twins, who live in Corunda, a fictional city in Australia. The girls have different mothers but the same father, who is a rector in the Church of England.

"Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty. Two sets of twins, the daughters of the Reverend Thomas
Latimer, Rector of St. Mark’s Church of England in the Shire & City of Corunda, New South
Wales." ...more
Angela M
May 22, 2014 rated it liked it
A solid 3 stars - 3.5 if I could .

I wanted to love this story as much as I did The Thorn Birds but I knew from the start that I wouldn’t. I knew that it wasn’t going to be the multigenerational epic story that I loved, yet I wanted to read it. Having said that upfront, I am glad that I read it and I thoroughly enjoyed this story!

Set in Australia in the 1920's, this is the story of two sets of twins who are half- sisters by blood but sisters by the heart. Only a few pages in and you will
...more
Jessica Cutting
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
It was quite a good story but it only skimmed the surface of the lives of the 4 girls. I would have preferred 4 books - one for each girl, spanning the same time period. That way you could get deeper and experience more of each girls life. So much more could have been told.
Kandice
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I want, very much, to give this book five stars. If anyone other than McCullough had written it, I would probably have given it only three, maybe two. I don't care how biased that makes me. I love Colleen McCullough. I crave her books in a way I might crave chocolate on a diet. Making me jones for her is worth an extra star.

This is the story of two sets of twins only 20 months apart. They share a father, but not a mother. This is Edda, Grace, Kitty and Tufts. I love the name tufts, b
...more
T4bsF (Call me Flo)
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
I found the first half of this book quite boring and in places unbelievable. Nothing concrete to say that things could not have happened at all, but that they would have been pushing the grounds of credibility. Some things could also have been put down to the differences between life in Australia and life in the UK. For instance, the period was c.1925 and the District Nurse was driving around in a Model T Ford. Here in the UK our District Nurses did their rounds on bikes until much later than th ...more
Book Concierge
Book on CD performed by Cat Gould.


A mini-series soap opera of a novel, following four sisters (two sets of twins) in early 20th century Australia. The Latimer girls have the same father, but different mothers. Edda and Grace’s mother died in childbirth, and their father later married the housekeeper originally hired to help the young widowed father. Early on their goals and dreams for themselves diverge: Edda wants to be a doctor, Grace to marry and raise a family, Tufts expect
...more
Dorine
Jul 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't finish this and set it aside. Not what I expected. Maybe I'll try again later, but for now it's getting put back on my shelf. LOVED The Thorn Birds, but this book isn't like that one.
Tara
Nov 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
Why this book is so well praised I will never know. Only got half way through it because the writing is horrible and the characters are so unlikable!
Ann
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thornbirds a tough act to follow for this author. 'Liked' 'Enjoyed' this book, but it certainly did not grip me as the Thornbirds had. 'Bittersweet' is set in New South Wales, Australia during the depression of the 1930's and 1940's, and I totally appreciated the historical value of this story. Dealt with the coming of age of two sets of twin sisters born to two different mothers and one father, a church rector. And of course two of the girls had an ugly stepmother! The main interests for me wer ...more
Anne OK
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
I neither hated or loved this journey back in history to Australia during the 1920s. After all the comparisons to The Thorn Birds, I was extremely intrigued, but found it nowhere near comparable.

The story centers around two sets of twins who are half-sisters sharing the same father, but who have different mothers. Kitty, Edda, Tufts and Grace all have their individual hopes and dreams like all girls. In support of each other, they leave home to escape their mothers and enter nurses training. They are
...more
WW1972
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
Tiresome characters with a weak story line and not very believeable. Not much bitter or sweet to keep your interest, more like "Bitterweak."
Jane Fafeita
Nov 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Lovely, cosy read but needed a bit of tightening up as it plodded along a little. I was disappointed that such supposedly strong females ultimately achieved their dreams due to rich, generous men.
Kristine
Aug 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
Original review can be found at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/2...

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I was extremely excited to read this book because I loved The Thorn Birds and was hoping that McCullough would blow me away again with this one.

What I liked...

I liked the fact that the story revolved around two sets of twins. Being a twin myself, I could relate to the relationships and clo
...more
Jae
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wont-read-again
Two and a half stars. I was so looking forward to this story and read the first 250 pages or so quite quickly ( it still had flaws in the writing but it flowed and it was interesting) but somewhere after that point I realised the story just wasn't going anywhere. The last half of the book I had to force down like caster oil and it took forever to finish. The main characters just didn't have flaws, they were dislikable and uninteresting. Sorry no more new Colleen books for me - I'll stick to her ...more
Kathryn
I enjoyed this and loved how it followed the 4 Latimer sisters through their nursing training. Set just before and during the Great Depression, part of the story revolved around economics and politics, which are not areas that I have a good grasp of, so some of it just washed over my head, but it was still an enjoyable story.

I felt the ending was a little less than satisfactory, but I as I finished the book a while ago (and am only now writing my review - oops!), I can’t remember wha
...more
Vicky
Oct 17, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
Colleen McCullough is a great writer and many of her books are the masterpieces. She is famous, venerated and well-known around the world. This last book unfortunately is not on the same page.
Michelle Keane
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Hmmm not my favourite McCulloch book. Can't say I enjoyed this one that much. Very simplistic and matter of fact style of storytelling which didn't really make you get "involved" with the characters
Karen O'Brien-Hall
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Colleen McCullough and I had the same English teacher! As she was born in 1937 and I was born in 1949, I can’t claim, however, we were school friends.
It’s incredible that a writer of such talent and diversity began her career as a neuroscientist including some years as a researcher and teacher at Yale University. Yet obviously it is as an author she is known and loved by so many around the world.
In Bittersweet, we meet the Latimer girls, two sets of twins Edda & Grace, Tufts and Kitty
...more
Deborah Pickstone
Some bits of ludicrousness in the plot but essentially a family saga taking in issues of the 1920s through the Depression in Australia, a period CMcC returns to over and over. As ever, she makes it very readable despite a few magical plot elements that do characterise her later books.

This was one of her last two books, published in the same year; 2013. She died about a year later with failing eyesight, following a series of small strokes and renal failure (of course I am always inter
...more
Jean
Sep 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I thought this book would be a historical novel about the changing role of nurses just after World War One and into the 1920s. The story is a tale of Edda, Grace Heather (Tufts) and Katherine (Kitty) two sets of twins. The story is set in the imagined Australian country town of Corunda. The novel underlines several of McCullough’s enormous strengths as a writer—superbly deft characterization, multiple plots that move apace, a warmth and generosity in the telling and dialogue sharp and at times f ...more
Regan
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was ok
Predictable. This book started out with great promise - a new book by Colleen McCullough, set in her native Australia. Potentially great premise - a family dynamic with 2 sets of twins, same father but different mothers, growing up when Australia herself was starting to feel some growing pains from Great Britain.

So the first 100 pages are enjoyable, but after that it becomes a chore to read - the last 100 pages were brutal- and I'm a fairly quick reader!

Unfortunately the
...more
JoAnne Pulcino
BITTERSWEET

Colleen McCullough

BITTERSWEET is a dramatic historical fiction coupled with a large dose of romance.

Two sets of twins rush into womanhood in the 1920’s and 1930’s in Australia. All four enroll in a training program for nurses and encounter challenges that speed them to a new maturity and independence. They meet men from all walks of life which help them make the major decisions about their lives. Ms. McCullough is capable of so much more depth when drawi
...more
Kathy
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I adore Colleen McCullough so Bittersweet was an automatic read for me. This novel based on four sisters, two sets of twins – Edda and Grace, Kitty and Tufts, is set in the fictional Australian town of Corunda in the 1920s and 1930s. We follow the girls as they train to become nurses, in a particularly hard era where the training programme was all new. The characters in Bittersweet build and grow and we read as each girl grows and develops personality and we are with them through the hard times ...more
Jennifer
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
unfortunately this was not a great read for me. i found the style of writing very simplistic and the characters very thin. so, that's a shame. i loved colleen mccullough when i was a teenager and have been wanting to revisit her for some time now. i was saddened to learn of her death back in january - she was such an accomplished and interesting woman. i think i will just go back to her earlier books, starting with a reread of The Thorn Birds.
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Play Book Tag: Bittersweet / Colleen McCullough - 3*** 3 15 Jul 07, 2019 01:22PM  
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1,805 followers
Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and Tim.

Raised by her mother in Wellington and then Sydney, McCullough began writing stories at age 5. She flourished at Catholic schools and earned a physiology degree from the University of New South Wales in 1963. Planning become a doctor, she found that she had a violent aller
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“Corunda Base Hospital itself continued to function on doctors, nurses, domestic staff, food preparers, and ancillary staff in the same old way, so that the patients lived (or died) in relative ignorance of the drama going on at an executive level. Indeed, it was a rare patient even knew that a hospital had executives.” 1 likes
“stayed as close to Theatre as she could, working Casualty or Men’s;” 1 likes
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