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Laney McCain has unabashedly had her sights set on Galen O'Sullivan for years. And though Galen has treated her as nothing more than his best friend's pesky tag-along sister, Laney dares hope that now is the time he will open his eyes and truly recognize the woman she's become.

But the arrival of Ishmael and Ivy Grubb, squatters on the O'Sullivans' land, diverts Galen's attention. Though the Grubbs are crass and uneducated, Galen shows mercy and allows them to stay in exchange for help around the farm. But it becomes a decision he lives to regret....

Sometimes the Journey to Love Is Truly Bittersweet

400 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2007

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About the author

Cathy Marie Hake

87 books585 followers
As a child, Cathy Marie Hake had an imaginary playmate. Now "grown up," she indulges in a host of imaginary friends as she writes. She teasingly says she decided if those voices in her head were talking, she might as well write down what they said and make a living by doing it. She met her sweetheart in the High School department at church and married him after finishing nursing school. They live in Southern California and have two children and two dogs (one of them even moos - one of the dogs that is, not the kids). Faith in God, a loving family, and a wacky sense of the ridiculous keep her going.

Known for surfing across the kitchen on a dropped dill pickle slice, waterskiing on sea anemone spit, and using Right Guard® as hair spray; she considers herself living proof that God does, indeed, possess a healthy sense of humor.

Cathy loves classical music, romantic getways with her husband, and Diet Pepsi Free®. "I need chocolate to survive, love my friends, and enjoy a deep personal relationship with the Lord. Although an extrovert, I'm very conservative on a personal level."

In her writing, Cathy attempts to capture a unique glimpse of life and how a man and woman can overcome obstacles when motivated by love. In her inspirational pieces she enjoys the freedom of showing how Christ can enrich a loving couple's relationship.

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5 stars
1,037 (37%)
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852 (30%)
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634 (22%)
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188 (6%)
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59 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 174 reviews
Profile Image for Olivia.
677 reviews106 followers
February 17, 2017
It's been awhile since I've read this one, but it's stuck with me for some time. I've read the one before it (Letter Perfect) and it is my favorite! But this one was a mixture of terrible, enjoyable, maddening, and just...awful!

I would not recommend this for teens below 18. The one starting revelation toward the end shocked me. While it does happen, I found it slightly disturbing to read about. I very much like Galen's character, but Laney got a bit on my nerves. I actually liked Ivy way better and hated how the author resolved her character.

This could have been much better, but still did enjoy a good bit of it.
Profile Image for Amanda Tero.
Author 27 books525 followers
July 7, 2018
I was cautioned by a few fellow-readers that book one was better than book two in this series, and I have to admit that I fully agree with them. The plot was just meandering and a lot of ideas were thrown in there without any real rhyme or reason.

Hake did cover the situation with Ivy very, very well. I greatly appreciated her tact in such a tough situation (slight spoiler: Ivy was raped).

Galen was a very real character. Some things were thrown in his life that would have been very tough in real life, and he wasn’t the gallant Christian with the right answers all the time. He had some anger, some struggles, and yet he overcame all of those through Christ. That was really amazing to read.

I don’t have much negative to say on the spiritual content. There was a lot of great spiritual content here. It did disappoint me that some of the characters still got what they wanted, so the message of surrender wasn’t as impactful as it could be.

Also, one of the characters was “forced” to marry an unbeliever. I still don’t know what I think of that. I understand the reasoning behind choosing death or being unequally yoked, but it just blurs the Scriptural lines a little bit.

If you’re looking for an amazing Christian thread, this book is amazing! But, if you like to have a solid plot, this one felt a little jumbled to me.
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,138 reviews212 followers
February 18, 2020
This review is of an ARC version of the book "Bittersweet" of the California Historical Series, book #2 by Cathy Marie Hake. After finishing book #1, "Letter Perfect", I could not help but be intrigued and eager to read the second installation of the lives I had come to care for and love in Folsom and the Broken P.

Receiving this book put me in a bit of a mood, because I ordered it from a swapping website and an ARC copy arrived. A few conversations and corrections later, the sender was extremely nice and apologetic and seemed thoroughly confused about it being an Advanced Reader Copy. Although I am even further confused how you cannot know that by the mostly white cover and the print "Advanced Reader Copy Not for sale" typed at the top and bottom of each page, but oh well, I got over it. Kinda. *wink*

Then, reading the synopsis on the back cover I was even a little more hesitant about reading this book. I just knew that I would not like it. The plot just lined up in a manner that I knew would make me angry.

Well. It took me a while to get through the first book. I read this one in two days. I could not put it down. I was right, I was angry. I was near to spitting nails and completely infuriated with the stupidity and arrogance and self centered... *rant rant rant* I was very upset with the way things turned out and were continuing to turn out. But then, that is the point is it not? Things will happen in our lives that we do not always agree with. We want to dictate to God what we want and how we want it to be. Even when he has something better in mind for the big picture, the stages of getting there are painful and not at all what we want to deal with.

Having finished this book, and in an attempt not to give anything away... I like the ending. It satisfied me. However, on one individual I still think they should have "fixed" a situation that was in their control once they had the power, but they did not and it had to be brought to a solution another way. It is true that it could definitely occur this way. And for these characters lives it did. That does not mean I have to like it. :)

I do recommend this read. I highly recommend that you read book #1 first, because then you will really understand the characters on a deeper level. But I encourage you to read it and share it.

Now.. I need more from Cathy Marie Hake.
Profile Image for Bess.
488 reviews
July 16, 2020
This one was not for me.
I liked Laney & Galen. However, when their courtship was interrupted by Ivy, it made me upset and curious as to how the author would remove this "obstacle." Galen ends up "marrying" Ivy since she told everyone that he fathered her baby. However, it was her own father that forced himself on his daughter. So, incest. And shotgun wedding.
The two, Laney & Galen, try so hard to move past this and make what they can out of their lives. Yes, they both come to an understanding with G-d that they should treat Ivy with Yeshua's love, but we see the difficulty of that. It's understandable.
I liked Dale! He was super cute!!
Ivy ends up dying after childbirth and her daughter will belong to Galen & Laney. They end up with their HEA at the price of Ivy's life. I'm not sure why there wasn't an annulment once she came clean. I guess that is creative liberties by the author. I didn't like this once Ivy continued the ruse.
I skimmed through the last 20% of the book and got the jist of what happened.
It wasn't really bittersweet. It was just sad.
Profile Image for Rachel Lee.
15 reviews8 followers
January 31, 2008
I loved this book! Even though it is a stand alone novel it involves characters from the novel "Letter Perfect". This novel is focused on Josh's sister, Laney who has always had a crush on Galen. So when Galen finally starts paying attention to her, Laney is in absolute heaven. That is until, two strangers walk into Galen's life that will halt all plans for his future with Laney.

This book is an easy read, very engaging and I absolutely couldn't put it down!
Profile Image for Heather.
239 reviews
May 4, 2015
I didn't like this book. I really liked "Letter Perfect" (the prequel to "Bittersweet") and was looking forward to seeing if Galen and Lacey worked things out but I didn't like the plot twist. It bugged me. The author tries to convince us that it was God's will and so Galen and Lacey have to learn to accept it and make the best of the situation. I don't accept that idea. Ivy choose to trap Galen. Yes, the Lord allows people's bad choices to effect good people but that doesn't make it His will. Galen's family and friends should have stepped in and helped instead of preaching acceptance.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amy.
19 reviews17 followers
June 5, 2008
I actually didn't finish this book. I couldn't get past all the dialog. I think she was trying to capture the old fashion mood with it and it bugged me too much.
Profile Image for Amy.
70 reviews2 followers
July 23, 2008
I was disappointed when reading reviews of this book. I just happened across it at the library but had read the previous novel for BookClub and LOVED it! I was so excited to see a sequel about Laney. I was bummed to read less than kind reviews of the book when I got home and was then somewhat less excited to start it...
HOWEVER- I loved the book. I admit I did enjoy the 1st book more but Bittersweet was definately a great book. I nearly cried, it was wonderful.
And made me realize I need to be a little more charitable towards certian people in my own life.
Profile Image for A.M. Heath.
Author 12 books289 followers
July 28, 2018
My Review: The story matches the title, and, yet, I couldn't put it down. I will say that I felt like the lead characters lacked chemistry together and this was a hindrance for me. But by the end of the novel, the example of genuine Christian faith, true surrender, and sacrificial love far outweighed anything I thought might have been lacking. I truly believe the Lord was honored here.
Hake is someone I plan to read more from as often as I can.
I give it 4 stars.
Profile Image for Allyson.
Author 2 books20 followers
August 7, 2008
It was as good as the first book! (Letter Perfect)
22 reviews
December 22, 2009

Book Review
Bittersweet by Cathy Mare Hake
Emily Sylvestre

1. What do you think the story was about?

The book was about two neighbouring families, the O’Sullivans and the McCains, who are very close friends. Laney who is the youngest child of the McCains “has her sights set on” Galen O’Sullivan the oldest of the five O’Sullivan sons. But to him Laney is nothing more than his neighbour and his best friend's little sister. She longs for him to notice she has become a women but he fails to notice. The O’Sullivans soon realize they are not alone on their own land. Squatters have settled in, Mr. Grubb and his twin children. The generosity of the O’Sullivans lets the Grubbs stay in exchange for Ishmael’s, the boy of the fraternal twins, work on the farm. The Grubbs not only bring extra help to the O’Sullivans but also much heartbreak and many unexpected events, most unpleasant.

2. Did you feel the book fulfilled your expectations? Were you disappointed?

Bittersweet was truly a bittersweet novel. It is lovely at times but sad and madding at others. It fulfilled my expectations one hundred percent. During part of the story I was disappointed not because of bad writing or a bad plot but because one of the characters made a decision that was truly heartbreaking for Laney and me.

3. On a scale of 1-5, what would you give this book? What would have made this a better book?

I give this book a 4.5 because it met all the expectations I have for books: a decent amount of dialogue, a pull-me-in story, characters I could connect with etc... The problem wasn't dragged on for a long time and then it got resolved which made me happy. What would have made it a 5 was if Cathy Mare Hake had written another book. The ending is really great because everything falls into place but you get so attached to the characters so even though all ends well you are disappointed.

4. Were the characters realistic? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Do you like them? Hate them?

The characters were very realistic because they all had traits that weren't over exaggerated. For example, though Laney was “ Glad for Ivy she cant help feeling hurt” she let her feelings of sadness and sometimes anger show just like a normal person would if they loved someone who wasn't permitted to love them back. I felt much hatred towards Ivy the girl of the twins. No matter how much hardship she had gone through I could not bring myself to feel pity for her because she lied and crushed more than one person's dreams. Other than Ivy I really liked the characters. They each brought their own individual qualities to the story.
5. Did the book end the way you expected?

In many ways it did because often while reading books that have a climax that doesn't turn out I presume that the ending must turn out well. Even though that's not always the case in this book it was resolved. So yes, it ended the way I expected that Galen and Laney finally get to be together, as Galen had said “ The most important things are worth waiting for.”

6. What is your least favourite scene?

Reading Bittersweet was really enjoyable because it has a very good plot and story line. But there were some down points. My least favourite scene is when one of the squatters Ishmael says to Galen “Ivy ain't no flannel-mouthed liar. She named you as her baby's pa.” This part crushed me because I felt so connected to the characters and I could really feel Laney's love for Galen and the start of his love for her. I was quite happy when it all got resolved.

7. How would the book have been different if it had taken place in a different time or place?

The book took place in the 1860's and it was in Sacramento, California so the storyline would have been really different had the story taken place in the north. For example the higher regions of Canada. The climate would have been really different which would mean that what they produce on their farms would be very different. The costumes would be different too.

8. Would you recommend this book to other readers? To your close friend?

Yes I recommend this book to people who like an easy enough read. I recommend that the reader of this book be older than twelve or have an expanded comprehension of words because I had read this book this summer and many words I wasn't able to understand or I would just skim over the words. But after I read it for a second time I could really understand it properly.

9. How are the book's images symbolically significant? Do the images help to develop the plot, or help to define characters?

The book didn't have any images except for the cover and on the back cover. On the cover you see a girl, who you presume is Laney, eating chocolate. Real chocolate is usually bittersweet and during the first few pages Laney says she is eating chocolate, something she really likes and it is bittersweet. From what the girl is wearing you can tell it took place a while ago.

10. What about the plot? Did it pull you in; or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book?

I loved the plot!!! It kept me interested and in suspense but the suspense didn't last so long that it made me lose interest. The story line was quite credible. I could relate to many parts like getting hurt but acting like you couldn't be bothered just so you can make someone else happy.

11. How did the book compare to other books by the author (or other books in the same genre)?

This was the first book I read by Cathy Marie Hake so I can't compare it to others by her. I would really like to read other books by her because Bittersweet was one of my favourite books. I have read other books with some of the same themes like how a family is very involved with Christ or other books where people give up something for themselves for someone else.

12. Did you learn anything from the book that you didn't already know?

Yes. I learned alot of words, definitions and terms that I didn't already know. For example: Before reading I had no idea what squatters were but by reading it then looking in the dictionary I learned that squatters are people that live off of someone else's land without that person knowing. In the Grubbs' case the O'Sullivans found out so they just became temporary residents. I learned alot more about the way people lived back then too.

13. What are some of the book's themes? How important were they?

I thought that one of the many themes in Bittersweet was religion because it was talked about alot. I think it was very important because most of the moral decisions were made based on the Bible and their beliefs in the Lord and what He taught them. Another theme is friendship because Laney befriends Ivy even though she doesn't have to. Ivy is the reason she is hurt but she doesn't let that stop her from becoming friends with her because she knows it's the right thing to do. I also think moving on and letting go are really important because the O'Sullivans have lost Mr. O'Sullivan and they start to let go and also for Laney to start to accept the fact that what Galen and her had may never be again.

14. If one (or more) of the character made a choice that had moral implications, would you have made the same decision? Why?

Back in the time this book took place everybody was involved with the Church and the Lord. Now in our time not many people are very involved like that anymore me included. That makes me have a different way of seeing things. Unlike Galen I wouldn't have made the decision to marry Ivy. I doubt that if the story would have taken place in this time Galen would have married Ivy because he was forced into doing it. He would've done it by personal will. In the story Galen marries her because of his beliefs in the Lord and in the Lord's teachings about taking responsibility for your actions even if they may not actually be your actions (Ivy had told people that Galen was the father and even though Galen knew that he was not, he felt the responsible thing to do was to marry Ivy

15. Were there any personality traits in the character that you could identify with?

I could really identify with Laney because she was always thinking of others. For example: the reason I think me and Laney are most alike is because we both have open minds.

I truly loved reading bittersweet and I recommend it to everybody who thinks this would be a book they'd like.
Profile Image for Patricia.
2,909 reviews14 followers
September 5, 2017
I have listened to a lot of Christian fiction this past year or so, primarily because the audio library at my county library seems to me to be very limited in its choices and sometimes I've just "needed" an audio book (going on a trip, doing a project, etc.). I have given most of these books a three-star rating anyway so I am not gaga about the genre in the first place but this book would rank at about 1.5 stars for me. I am rounding up to 2 stars because I did finish the book.

I don't know if I'm tiring of the genre or this book just wasn't that good. Maybe it is a little of both. This is one of the few Christian romance fiction books that I've actually read rather than listened to. I did read (listened to) book one in this series and liked it at least well enough to want to read book 2. Maybe when I listen to a book, I can wander around and do other things and the defects or aggravations of the book aren't as apparent to me. However, with reading, there is just no escaping that there were some real problems with this one.

For one, I skipped all the sermonizing in this book that I possibly could. I am not against scripture quoting, preaching, attempting to convert, etc., but there was an air of condescension to the "Christian" aspect of this book that really bothered me.

Second, I just felt incredulous about some events/aspects/details of this book. To avoid having to create a spoiler, I just have to say that from the time the major "conflict" of the book was revealed, the book began going rapidly downhill for me. I felt some scenes were overdone. I felt that certain characters behaved out of character--regularly. Some behavior was just too good to be true or too over-the-top to be true. Plus, I could guess early where the book was headed and didn't like its direction. Also, I didn't like having guessed so soon. Although romance books are expected to wrap up in a tidy fashion (aka "not a lot of suspense there"), this one bothered me.

So, in my note to myself that I usually leave at the bottom of a review as I progress through a series, I wonder whether I go on reading this series? Maybe on a really, really slow reading day when I "need" an audio book, I might give Hake another try. However, my motivation to do that is very low right now as I write this review. (In all fairness, I have read other books by this author and have liked some of them a lot more than I liked this one.)
Profile Image for Amy Sue.
121 reviews1 follower
February 24, 2020
I didn’t like this story at all. I didn’t mind the first book in the series but I couldn’t stomach this book enough to finish it.

I hated that Galen only decided that he was in love with Laney after he was helping her out of the wagon and felt her tiny waist. Like how shallow is he? I know the moment is meant to portray that he realized she was a women but the chapter before talked about how tight she had to do up her corset so he would notice her. It just didn’t sit right. I was hoping they would fall in love in some crazy adventure but nope.

I stopped reading when Galen was forced to marry another women at gun point. I literally threw up my hands and just gave up at that point.

There is good points to the book. It just wasn’t for me.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Rosina.
67 reviews2 followers
January 5, 2021
This is a 400 page book, but felt no pain in my rule of 300 pages. I found myself glued to the book. I feel like this book was about prejudices or preconception. Not about color, but the status of being educated and non-educated, and how to be kind to all. A value that you should not put yourself above others and to help rise those less unfortunate with healthy and loving confidence.
Profile Image for Misty.
56 reviews16 followers
January 31, 2009
I absolutely loved "Letter Perfect" and when I found out there was a continuation I had to read it. "Bittersweet" was one of those that I just couldn't put down. I had to literally tear myself away from it to get anything done. Even though parts of the story where pretty predictable it still made for a wonderful story. I've found another fictional man to be in love with besides Edward Cullen in the Twilight Saga. Galen O'Sullivan is incredible!! Cathy Marie Hake is now on my list of favorite authors and I'm looking forward to reading more of her work. Check this one out. I don't think you'll be disappointed.
Profile Image for Pam Carroll.
35 reviews4 followers
March 14, 2014
This book was a hard read. However, it has character and so much truth to it. The characters are real, and it shows that true Christin charity ia unpopular and hard, even amongst Christians. Although it ended well, I walked away feeling a lot like the title, bittersweet. I'm rating it lower only because it left me feeling sad and more somber instead of happy, and real life already does that on its own.
Profile Image for Lauren Harrell.
Author 1 book29 followers
April 24, 2020
This book was all over the place for me. The plot was meh, and only a handful of the characters in this story were likeable. I will say, [spoiler: one of the characters is raped, and how this story discussed that was well-done].

Overall, I wouldn't particularly recommend this read as it was difficult to focus on the story through to completion.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
1,261 reviews25 followers
September 5, 2017
I'm giving this zero starts because it is an F read for me.

Christian theology can be a difficult thing. We have numerous denominations because we interpret and prioritize the teachings of Jesus in different ways. Even seemingly simple issues – such as forgiveness – can be fraught with issues. We can agree that a murderer repenting of his crime is a cause to rejoice however few would argue that such repentance would require that his sentence should then be set aside. Many know that God requires of us that we welcome the alien and sojourner but check any Christian magazine comment section, Facebook page or letters to the editor and you will see there is a hot debate about how the church should respond to illegal aliens in America. Is justice our priority or charity? These are tough questions to be looked at with prayer, discernment and intense study of the scriptures.

Which is one reason why I tend to be cautious in reading Inspirational fiction. Many authors can not resist the opportunity to sermonize on a favorite theology within their texts and yet many times, that theology winds up being misrepresented or being completely ill thought out. That was the case with this novel. I think the tale was meant to be about forgiveness but it had many cultural undertones and unclear doctrine which made it extremely difficult for me to read.
Galen O'Sullivan has always treated Laney as his best friends barely to be tolerated kid sister. When it became clear she had a crush on him, he responded with minimal tolerance. His father’s recent death has him working long hours on the farm, so when he finds some drifters on his land he wants to make short shift of them. Christian charity forces him to rethink things and let them stay on his land. The two kids (young adults) prove to be hard workers and he treats them with increasing charity. His mother and brothers do as well and so does Laney’s family. Having the extra help on the farm and the easing of some of his tension allows him to finally see Laney as a real possibility for his wife. SPOILERS AHEAD: Before he can pop the question though, Ivy (one of the squatters), forces Galen to marry her.

I had had struggles with the text before that. The level of preachiness was high from the beginning, with the author often taking the opportunity to intersperse the story with both the salvation message and numerous points of morality. But this was where my struggles really began. I was angry that Galen’s mother, who had been a whiny, weepy character to that point, turned so quickly on her son and accepted the word of a vagrant who had until recently been aiding and abetting a criminal. I was horrified that she overruled Galen’s decision to remove Ishmael and insisted on essentially giving Ivy the very thing she wanted – a nice home for her family. I was angrier that everyone simply accepted that Ivy’s life-altering actions required reactions of forgiveness and charity from the very people she had wronged. It was theology at its worst – a reenactment of messianic principles with no explanation of the cost of the cross or the price of discipleship. It was what Bonhoeffer termed “cheap grace” in all its beautiful abundance.

Laney's treatment of the store keeper was another sore point for me. It wasn't just that everyone was to extend forgiveness without repentance on Ivy's part but that even the sin couldn't be called out for what it was. A gossip received more censorship than a liar, conniver, thief and bootlegger.

Ms. Hake was one of the first author’s I had read when coming back to Inspirational romance and I enjoyed her novel “Whilwind” enough that I continued to read in the genre. It was a huge disappointment to read this story, which could have been an interesting look at growing up and moving on and finding it to be a jumble of poor theology and poorer plotting. A saccharine ending made a bad situation even worse. I have several other of her books in my TBR and I’m hoping and praying they aren’t as bad as this.
Profile Image for Hannah Foster.
Author 6 books113 followers
August 22, 2022
Ugh! I don't know if I can write a great review on this book because I really enjoyed it by the time I got to the to the end, but there was a scenario that happened that made me really mad. Haha! And I didn't think it necessarily needed to have happened the way it did, but then so much redemption happened because of it and that was beautiful to watch so it raised the book in my esteem.

I also loved the characters throughout this book. Ruth and all of the finishing schools she was kicked out of was amusing. Or Dale and Laney, and the pig partnership they had was hilarious. I loved the sibling relationships. I appreciated that the children were fun and enjoyable but also not perfect. They had their moments of realistic sulkiness.

The grieving in this book I thought was really well done. It wasn't too much so that it got wearisome, but it was real. And yet the way they fought through their grief was also realistic. Or how Galen worked through the hurt that was caused him because of someone's lie.

And speaking of the lie.

So yes, as others have mentioned, something did happen that is really bad, but I thought it was handled well because it was only briefly mentioned, and the reader does not have to dwell on it.

I enjoyed all the little side romances. And I loved the faith aspect in this book. It was filled throughout the story as the characters wrestled with how to respond to really difficult situations. And they didn't always respond right the first time but would eventually see how they had responded wrong and immediately set to repent and change. And that's probably partly what makes me really appreciate this book so much. There are definitely some really rough situations and wild rides, and maybe even unrealistic scenarios, and yet the characters grow in their walk with God or have to struggle through doing the right thing though it was hard.
Profile Image for Märchens .
211 reviews1 follower
March 14, 2022
Das ist mein 1.Buch dieser Autorin und hat mich mit einigen gemischten Gefühlen hinterlassen. Ich mag tiefgründige Geschichten, in denen es um Liebe, Vertrauen, Nächstenliebe, christliche Werte geht - all das findet man auch in diesem Buch wieder. Und doch ist es stellenweise etwas zu viel oder abrupt, was für mich etwas zu übertrieben wirkte.
Die Familien sind sehr sympathisch, auch im Umgang miteinander und ein christliches Leben spielt eine große Rolle. Auch ist die Zeit, in der das spielt für einige Entscheidungen und Überzeugungen auch wichtig zu beachten. Ich hab eine Weile gebraucht, um mich in die Geschichte einzufinden. Im Erkennen der gegenseitigen Gefühle plätschert es zunächst einseitig dahin, um auf einmal völlig anders zu verlaufen. Die Abläufe der Grubbs verlaufen ähnlich, oft wiederholend, sowohl die Abneigung des unsympathischen Vaters, als auch das Miteinander der Zwillinge Ivy und Ishy. Irgendwann nimmt das Buch mehr an Fahrt auf und verläuft auf einmal in eine Richtung, die mich ziemlich überrascht hat. Und ab da ist es zwar spannend, allerdings an einigen Stellen wieder mit unverständlichen Reaktionen. Einerseits wird viel gebetet, um mit der Situation umzugehen, teilweise sind die Protagonisten extrem verzweifelt, handeln aber völlig anders, was zwar vom christlichen Standpunkt lobenswert, aber aus menschlicher Sicht unverständlich und nicht immer nachvollziehbar ist. Man spürt die Verzweiflung, die Hilflosigkeit, den Wunsch, dass doch alles anders wird, aber dann überstürzen sie sich emotional in Freundschaft, Hilfsbereitschaft, als wenn nie was gewesen wäre. Das Ende kann man sich dann denken, wirkt aber zu schnell und abrupt im Vergleich zur ganzen Geschichte.
Die Geschichte hat mir schon gefallen, doch ich hatte zeitweise Schwierigkeiten mit den Personen warm zu werden und ihr Handeln einzuordnen, speziell wenn sie so schnell ihre Meinungen ändern. Es regt auf jeden Fall zum Nachdenken an, ist aber eher eine traurige, gefühlvolle Geschichte, wenn auch manche Situation lustig eingebaut ist. Cover und Titel gefallen mir gut und passen genau.
Profile Image for Deborah.
161 reviews9 followers
April 21, 2019
Bittersweet from the California Historical Series follows on from where Letter Perfect ends. The same characters have continued on with their lives, and Laney is still longing for Galen to see her as more than Josh's little sister. Galen goes from seeing Laney as a pesky little girl to a woman he wants to marry. Everything looks to be finally turning out perfectly, but one lie changes their lives forever.

Although a little cheesy in places, and the dialect of some of the characters was overdone, I still enjoyed Bittersweet a lot more than Letter Perfect. I enjoyed revisiting with the characters and seeing the bittersweet story unfold.

Very sweet Christian historical fiction, set at the start of the Civil War (although not a part of the story). Strong gospel message for the non-believer, but also a challenging message for Christian readers.
Profile Image for Cinnabug.
162 reviews3 followers
August 11, 2021
As I finished the book, I realized how appropriate the title was. This was a difficult read for me, very heart-wrenching, but packed full of biblical truth, wisdom, sacrifice, and Christian love. So many verses come to mind as I ponder this book, but 1 Peter 3:9 was prevalent throughout. I struggled reading this book, wondering what I would’ve done had I been in the same situation as the main characters, even wanting to hold onto anger over the injustice of the situation, even as a mere reader. The author did a fine job of portraying all sides of a betrayal, from every viewpoint, and showed us what our responses really should be. And in the end, Romans 8:28 prevailed.
Profile Image for Lynette.
1,223 reviews5 followers
September 7, 2019
I liked the first part of this book, but I have several issues with the last half. It’s just unrealistic. I cannot imagine a place where people would believe a homeless woman they don’t know over a well respected man that they do know. It just wouldn’t happen, especially in the 1800s, and that didn’t sit well with me. I liked the ending even though it seemed unrealistic also. I didn’t realize I was reading the second book in a series. I wish I had read the first one first, but I feel like I wasn’t missing anything important.
1,084 reviews3 followers
March 23, 2017
Author does a good job of keeping you engaged in the story. It was quite the bombshell when Galen has to marry Ivy. Your heart just goes out to Laney. How everyone rallies around Ivy was great but sad for Laney and Galen since their hopes and dreams were crushed. Kind of figured when Ivy lied about the baby that it was because her father forced himself on her. But all ended well - Ivy has a beautiful baby girl before she succumbs to death. Laney steps in to help take care of Annabelle while Mrs. O'Sullivan is taken ill. Then it was just a matter of reading to the end to see that Galen and Laney's dreams came true. Ruth and Josh had a baby boy. Laney pregnant with their first. Hilda married to Torpedo. Amanda and Ismael married. All's good and ends on a happy, fairy tale ending.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
336 reviews
October 18, 2017
I love Ms. Hake's style of writing. Her characters, friendships, faith journeys....but I wasn't prepared for how heart wrenching this one was all through the middle. Lots of relational trauma that I didn't expect but I did appreciate how she wrapped up the story in the end. Excellent lessons on living out our faith.
Profile Image for Loraine.
826 reviews
January 30, 2018
This was a good book. I had a hard time with some of the events as they unfolded. But if I say very much, it will give things away. I don't believe in the way some of the things happened, but it's just a different way of viewing faith and God, repentance and redemption. It is a well written book with great characters, and a happy ending.
17 reviews
July 14, 2019
Honestly, Laney was annoying and I kind of hoped Galen really would end up with Ivy. Galen seemed to suffer a change in heart that was too sudden to be believable. He went from thinking of Laney as his friend's annoying kid sister to a woman in a single scene, all because she had a tiny waist (like she'd never had her corset on or cinched before), and then he was all in for getting married.
Profile Image for Paula.
436 reviews5 followers
March 7, 2020
Great story I didn't want to put down! After years of his best friend's sister having a crush on him, Galen begins to realize Laney isn't a child anymore. The day he chooses to propose to her, he is accused openly of misusing another girl, and is forced to marry her. A very exciting story of love, lies, and learning to forgive. Great story and excellent writing!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,113 reviews
January 28, 2022
After reading and enjoying book 1 in this series, this was a major disappointment. This story missed the mark for me by a mile. I considered a couple of times of DNFing it, but kept with it to see how it would end up. Way too many things in this story annoyed me or were dark/sad/tragic. Hopefully her other series goes better for me!
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