Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore [Review]

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore



About This Book

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 Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted:  friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs.
But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

My Review

Bittersweet: an extremely well written, unique, intriguing, mysterious tale about family, wealth, corruption, evil, and love. When reading Bittersweet, I never knew quite what was coming next. When I formed expectations, I was often surprised by what actually happened. The one word that flashed through my mind over and over again when reading Bittersweet was ‘classic.’ I honestly feel like this book could be an American classic. It reminded me of The Great Gatsby early on, but it’s much more than a tale about wealth and greed. Bittersweet is at once unbelievable and believable–both unrealistic and realistic. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and I loved and hated it. Beverly-Whittemore’s characters are complex yet accessible. I rooted for Mabel, but I also despised her at times. Ev is very much Daisy Buchanan in my mind–I want to love her,  but she makes it difficult. I very much enjoyed this book, and it’s one that I will keep on my bookshelf forever. The cover is gorgeous, and the story still has my mind reeling [weeks later!]. Bittersweet may be a bit out of your comfort zone [as it was mine], but I urge you to read it. I’m sure it will leave an impression! [And isn’t that what we want from literature?]

You can read the first chapter of Bittersweet here.

The author created Pinterest boards for the book here!

Praise for Bittersweet

“Mesmerizing gothic thriller…Bittersweet is worth savoring–it unfolds like a long summer day, leisurely revealing the dark.” People, Lisa Kay Greissinger

What begins a little like Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep quickly warps into a sickly addictive thriller…think ABC’s Revenge when it was good, only more scandalous…With books likeBittersweet to stuff in beach bags, it’s beginning to feel a lot more like summer. A-” —Entertainment Weekly, Stephan Lee

Beverly-Whittemore has crafted a page-turner riddled with stubborn clues, a twisty plot and beguiling characters.” —Kirkus, starred review

“Evokes Gone Girl with its exploration of dark secrets and edge-of-your-seat twists.” —Entertainment Weekly, Lanford Beard

Takes the reader inside the glamorous world of the super-wealthy, where everything is not as it seems, and dark, long-buried family secrets gradually make their way to the surface. …its strength lies in its elements of mystery. The result is a page-turner that will keep readers guessing until the end.” —BookPage

Suspenseful and intriguing, filled with characters who both fit the blue-blood mold and break the stereotypes we all associate with the upper class. Her short chapters, with their cliff-hanger endings, will keep readers turning pages late into the night.” —Booklist

Beverly-Whittemore captures both the idyllic beauty of a Vermont summer and its dark shadows …gothic tangles wind the plot more and more tightly. …A suspenseful tale of corruption and bad behavior among wealthy New Englanders. Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories featuring dark secrets that affect generations will find much that appeals here.” —Library Journal

In the tradition of The Great Gatsby, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s heroine is an outsider invited into the secret, labyrinthine world of the super-rich–but the twist is, you never met such debauched people as the Winslows. Bittersweet is a satisfyingly dramatic, super-juicy read.” –Jenna Blum, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

Bittersweet is the kind of book you hope to stumble across on a rainy vacation weekend: a wild New England gothic full of family secrets, mysteriously locked doors, sailboats, suntans, forbidden lust, and a few priceless works of art. An engrossing summer blast.” –Maggie Shipstead, national bestselling author of Seating Arrangements and Astonish Me

“In Bittersweet, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore prizes up the veneer of an old, privileged American family to discover depths of intrigue, power, and menace beneath. In its guise as a coming-of-age mystery, the book is both swift and arresting; that the novel also doubles as an insightful meditation on class, aspiration, and longing makes the book reverberate in the reader long past its final line.” –Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia

Gripping, beguiling and beautifully written, Bittersweet is a page turner that chills as it intoxicates. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore has created a family so dangerously enthralling that the more we learn of their greed and bloodlust, the more we aspire to belong.” –Kate Christensen, PEN/Faulkner award-winning author of The Great Man and Blue Plate Special

Part coming-of-age story, part riveting mystery, Bittersweet is a tantalizing tale of an outsider thrust into a glittering world of immense privilege and suspect morals. With a narrator torn between uncovering one family’s dark secrets and protecting her own, Bittersweet brilliantly explores the complicated question of what price any of us would pay to seize the life of our dreams.” –Kimberly McCreight, New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia

“The theme of paradise lost courses through this coming-of-age tale tinged with mystery…For all their lean, blonde beauty and their designer names, the Winslows–including Birch and Tilde, Ev’s parents; and Ev’s brother Galway, whose attentions encourage Mabel to fantasize about becoming part of the blue-blooded tribe–have more squalid secrets than her own…” —Publishers Weekly

If you like reading classics and stories about family greed and outsiders, this book is definitely for you. However, I would also recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good fiction. Bittersweet is intriguing, well written, and unexpected. Don’t miss it!

*I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel (Quilts of Love) [Review]

Rival Hearts by Tara Randel

Rival Hearts is the latest release in the Quilts of Love series. The story features 2 main characters–Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver. They are both magazine editors in line for a promotion, and the boss decides to pit them against each other in a crazy challenge. On a deeper level, the book is about each character’s journey towards a healthier, stronger, and ultimately better version of themselves.

This is the first Quilts of Love title I’ve read, and it also served as my introduction to Tara Randel’s work. I really enjoyed Rival Hearts. It’s just over 200 pages long, so it can be read in an afternoon or evening. The writing flows well and allows the reader to become immersed in the story. Situations are never stretched out too long, and I never felt a lull or empty space in the book. I was impressed by Randel’s ability to keep me interested, engaged, and happy with the story. I fell for these characters and I think you will, too! I highly recommend this book to fans of christian romance, christian contemporaries, and competition love stories. Give it a shot!

More Info from LitFuse:

They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?

Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter’s Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests. Can girly‑girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he‑said, she‑said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?

Find out more and purchase a copy at the Quilts of Love website.

Tara Randel


Tara Randel is the author of five romance novels including “Lasting Love,” “Melody of Love” and “This Time Love.” A member of ACFW, Tara is also the lead author of the new Annie’s Mysteries series (see Tara lives in New Port Richey, Florida.

Find out more about Tara at

Connect with Tara: websiteFacebook



What is the Quilts of Love Series?

Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, you will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories. Check out the website here.

What are you reading this summer? Let me know in the comments!

*I received this book free from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick — Review

My Review:

I absolutely loved My Life Next Door, so I was fairly certain I’d adore this book as well. I really enjoyed What I Thought Was True, and I flew through the 400 pages in a short amount of time. This doesn’t feel like a long story, and thankfully there are no lulls. While reading, I kept thinking, “How will I rate this book? 3 stars or 4? What am I going to say about it?” It was a GOOD book, but there’s nothing inherently unique about the story itself. The gold, however, is in the writing. Fitzpatrick’s style made this typical tale of poor girl/rich boy feel completely new and fresh. I’m a sucker for summer romances, Nantucket vacations, and YA fiction, so this book hit on 3 of my loves. The characters are accessible and all too human. The only one I had a hard time getting a grasp on was Gwen’s dad, and I’m still not sure how to picture him. I’ve been itching for this release since I read Fitzpatrick’s other novel a few months ago, and I was definitely not disappointed. My only criticism of her first novel was the amount of rough language used—mainly the f word. I was so happy to see this book was much cleaner! I still think My Life Next Door is my favorite of her titles so far, but I can’t wait to see what she gives us next! After losing myself in both of her novels, Huntley Fitzpatrick is officially on my list of favorite authors. Make sure to read one (or both!) of her books this summer!

Book Synopsis:

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.

Gwen Castle’s Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen’s dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is.

A magnetic, push-me-pull-me romance with depth, this is for fans of Sarah Dessen, Jenny Han, and Deb Caletti.

What’s on your summer reading list? Leave me your recommendations in the comments!