Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Not to be missed, this wonderfully ambitious novel infused with mystery, danger, secrets, and gothically surreal environs will be the one people are reading on the beach this summer. With writing reminiscent of authors such as Donna Tartt, Beverly-Whittemore shines in her third novel about a young, plain college girl and her longing to belong to the glamorous upper crust society enjoyed by her ethereal roommate.
Mabel Dagmar narrates the story of how she essentially worms her way into the glamorous Winslow family one fateful summer. Mabel and Genevra (Ev) Winslow are roommates who spend their vacation at Ev’s family estate in Vermont, a romantic and mysterious place that has as many secrets as it does ancestors. Smitten, soon Mabel finds herself enmeshed in a sordid family history and discovers forbidden knowledge that she must keep to herself if she wants to be accepted into this enigmatic clan.
Mabel shines as she leads us through her blooming transformation from quiet wallflower to assertive heroine. As the summer unfolds and Mabel and Ev, formerly inseparable, find themselves growing apart Mabel takes it upon herself to solve the mystery of Ev’s increasingly disturbing behavior. She soon discovers a most shocking and unbelievable truth.
A strange yet colorful cast of Winslow family characters are woven throughout the story and each adds their own element of danger and mystique. As the drama unfolds you’ll find yourself reading faster and faster until you reach its feverish and surprising conclusion. It’s been a long time since I relished a book of this nature. Beverly-Whittemore has found her niche—let’s hope it continues in the future.
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