Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “This Bitter Earth (Sugar Lacey, #2)” as Want to Read:
This Bitter Earth (Sugar Lacey, #2)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

This Bitter Earth

(Sugar Lacey #2)

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  2,310 ratings  ·  195 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 31st 2002 by Plume (first published February 1st 2002)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about This Bitter Earth, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,310 ratings  ·  195 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of This Bitter Earth (Sugar Lacey, #2)
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am loving Bernice McFadden's storytelling. I think I'm going to read everything she's ever written!
Cheryl James
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is a 5 star read. I am so glad that I can start my 2018 year off with a great book and an even greater author. I truly loved the writing style, the characters and the meaning of the story. The author made me feel like I was a part of the story, it all felt so real. I would love to see this as a motion picture. I am so looking for a part 3. I have so many questions about Sugar, Pearl, Joe, the brothers, and Mercy.

Bernice McFadden you are an incredible author. I will definitely be on a
Feb 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My journey with Sugar Lacey has come to an end. Bernice McFadden is a great writer.

When I finished Sugar almost a year ago, I wanted to know how she was, and what happened to her after she left Arkansas and where she would end up, if she would be okay. Although it took me forever to get This Bitter Earth to find out, and even longer to finish the story, I'm so glad I did. The characters in these books are so interesting. And the story is sprinkled with ghosts and prophetic dreams and signs and n
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“All of them had seen it happen at least once in their lives. Throngs of blackbirds, perched in trees and s scatter-walking across the ground, waiting for death to claim its victim in”

Bernice has done me in with the sequel to Sugar. The way nature is telling most of this story is magnificent!! The way the black birds swarm when death is near. The patience this story has kept me on edge because the truth could not just be spilled out.

🗣Listen!! When i tell that the way this story unravels is too
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
After reading Bernice L. McFadden's first acclaimed novel entitled 'Sugar', I was looking forward to read 'This Bitter Earth', which is a continuation of her first book. I pleasantly enjoyed this book. I thought it was beautifully written, and provided fans of the main character Sugar Lacey with a brilliant novel that takes place about 10 years after the time period in which 'Sugar' was written. McFadden, once again, provides the reader with an impressive story including the great characters of ...more
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every who read Sugar
It took me some time to come out of Bigelow once I reached the last page. The questions that I was left with after reading Sugar were all answered in the book. I love the writing style and the vivid characters. I also love to piece together who's who & and who's related to one another. Awesome read. I'm not sure how I missed these books years ago but I'm glad I was introduced to this town and its people. All of this author's books that I've read so far are excellent and definitely re-readable. ...more
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readsoullit
I'm not sure what it is but it feels like whenever I pick up a Bernice McFadden book I turn around and it's over, and I am left spent. It was a great conclusion to Sugar and my questions were surely answered.

loved it.
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh. My. I don't read back in the day books but book 1 Sugar and this one was absolutely heart stopping. I loved them both and all I can say I knew it. I knew it. I knew it.
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

"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
Maya B
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, historical
I really enjoyed this followup. the author did a great job as far as telling the past of Sugar. This book also answered the questions I had after reading book 1.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up.
Suzanne V
Nov 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relationships
I love to find stories that I don't want to end, characters that I meet and know I will remember forever. Sugar is one of those. I read Sugar last fall; had I known This Bitter Earth would pull me in and live up to the first novel I would have read it immediately.

This is a story that is at times very painful to read, but unforgettable. Sugar is set in the Jim Crow South; This Bitter Earth picks up in St. Louis but returns readers to the South when Sugar makes her way back home. This is a saga of
Kisha (BooksAndBeautyMarks)

My #SugarRush experience has come to an end! I want to hug Auntie Bernice for these beautiful books she’s written; books that are about love, identity, forgiveness, tragedy, triumph, redemption, and new beginnings. The characters were sooooo well written. The story takes place in several different cities and states and it covers the life of Sugar well into her 40’s and McFadden transitioned these times and places so effortlessly. Never once during my reading was I ever confused or lost. H
Naeemah Huggins
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This reads like a Negro Spiritual, dark and Deep and Black. There are so many things that I can say about Bernice McFadden and her writing but she says them so much better herself.
She bleeds rich history onto the page, her soul empties out and into my eyes and ears as she spirits be back to Bigalow, AK and the time of Sugar. I've found her swollen beautiful prose to be matchless, no matter how many times I've read her, no matter who else I read chasing that high.
To know the author is to read ho
Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard
Powerful! This book was a pleasure to read as the sequel to Sugar. Book 1 was magnificent and I am thrilled with the intensity and passion that came out of book 2. Not wanting to give anything away with my review; as far as my favorite characters go, I have to say that there was a lot of courage in book 1 and a lot of spiritual growth and maturity in book 2. No life worth living can be all good, there needs to be some hardships and heartaches. I'm not saying we all need to have as many troubles ...more
Jul 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
It was good to see what happened to the characters from Sugar. I should have read that one again before reading this sequel, but this was good on its own and I didn't feel like I forgot too much of the original story to get the core of the tale.
Winter Sophia Rose
Mar 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Breathtaking, Mesmerizing, Compelling & Provacative! An Excellent Read! I Loved It! ...more
Joy Wright
Jan 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this continuation of Sugar's story. The language in this book is beautiful and the story keeps you till the end.
Tonia  Smith
Feb 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This Bitter Earth

A great sequel to just had to know what really happened and how everyone was connected to one another.
Bernice McFadden is a fantastic writer.
Oct 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book wasn't as intense as Sugar but I still loved it. It starts immediately where Sugar leaves off. Sugar is still struggling to find peace from her childhood, adulthood and most importantly her past. The fact that after all she's been through she's still making it is a testament to her endurance.
The story makes it way through the civil rights movement, technology, environment and other social changes. Little details like them waiting for the channel to go off at night put you back in that
Jennie Stangel
Feb 03, 2013 rated it liked it
I didn't really connect with this book as much as I did with "Sugar." The story line felt rushed in a way. I also found the style of the book to feel different than the first book. I read these books consecutively, and was bothered at how much more I connected with the first book than with the second. I hope that, if there are more books to come in the Sugar series, McFadden is able to bring back the voice of Sugar that I felt was just missing in the second book. I also thought that This Bitter ...more
Debra Odom
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Most excellently written. This book was an awesome conclusion to Sugar. As I said in my previous review, we need more authors like Bernice L. McFadden. There are many twists and turns in this book and the reader is able to visualize the joys, hurts, and pains in the lives of the characters in the book over the decades.
Stephanie Anderson
Very, very good read! This follow up really pulled all the loose ends together. I am truly hoping for a book three. There's so much more to be told!

Very, very good read! The following up really pulled all the loose ends together. I am truly hoping for a third release. There's so much more to be told!
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't compare this book to Sugar as I haven't read the first book. However, I did love the sequel This Bitter Earth. It's a story of Sugar's survival although the odds are stacked against her. I thought she was a wonderful main character and in the end, showed herself to be strong and caring.
Dee M-Charles
Nov 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This author is AMAZING!!! She knows how to pull at your heart strings....such a great book!
Jun 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a great read!

If you haven't read Sugar (book 1) and This Bitter Earth (book 2), do yourself a favor and read them! This was an awesome story.
Morgan (prettylittlebookshelf)
This Bitter Earth by Bernice McFadden did NOT disappoint. This novel continues telling the story of Sugar Lacey as she reflects on her past and struggles to make peace with it all. As she retraces her steps and encounters those who have made a lasting impact on her life you cannot help but empathize with her. Sugar Lacey lived a hard life and her ability to persevere is a testament to her character and what made me love her. This Bitter Earth was GUT-WRENCHING. RAW. HEARTFELT.

In this sequel, Su
Julia Christina Dewolf
Read after I read the first book in this series - which was titled “Sugar”. I felt this was written because the first book was so good and it was possible to continue to first book. Not sure that it needed another. I don’t actually know.
I felt this one was not as good as the first.
Though yes it answered some questions for me, who was whom to whom (with family) I found thoroughly confusing. Which perhaps that’s why I didn’t love this one as much.
This book continues the relationship between Sug
Sep 26, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-literature
The characters I knew and loved in Sugar were not themselves in this sequel. The first half of the book just brought a gratuitous amount of suffering to Sugar. The reconciliation of Sugar and Pearl wasn’t developed. Pearl’s descent into despair and recovery from it wasn’t explored or justified. I wanted to hear about how the Taylors develop relationships with Sugar knowing who she is, but that didn’t happen. And we were left with no resolution for them at the traumatic end. I wish I hadn’t read ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Darkest Child
  • Perfect Peace
  • Fifth Born
  • God Still Don't Like Ugly (God Don't Like Ugly, #2)
  • Grown
  • The Upper Room
  • Grace
  • Black Girls Must Die Exhausted
  • They Tell Me of a Home
  • One Night in Georgia
  • Across the Way (The Neighbors #3)
  • Tumbling
  • One House Over (The Neighbors #1)
  • Life Is Short But Wide
  • These Ghosts Are Family
  • Flyy Girl (Flyy Girl, #1)
  • God Don't Play (God Don't Like Ugly, #3)
  • Who Asked You?
See similar books…
BERNICE L. McFADDEN is the author of ten critically acclaimed novels including Praise Song for the Butterflies (Long listed for the 2019 Women's Prize in Fiction ) The Book of Harlan (winner of a 2017 American Book Award and the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Fiction) Sugar, Loving Donovan, Nowhere Is a Place, The Warmest December, Gathering of Waters (a New York Times Editors’ C ...more

Other books in the series

Sugar Lacey (2 books)
  • Sugar (Sugar Lacey, #1)

News & Interviews

November is the time for aspiring writers to get serious about writing that book! It's National Novel Writing Month, the annual event designed to...
7 likes · 0 comments