Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore Review

bsweetGenre: Adult Fiction, Realistic Fiction, Mystery

Judging the Cover: This book has a beautiful cover…it depicts a place that seems like a great place to escape. It even has a shimmer which makes the lake look more realistic.

Plot according to Goodreads: 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 Thoughts: This book would be a great one to take to the beach or on summer vacation…the atmosphere of a lakeside community really made me long for a nice quiet camping trip. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. It kept me interested throughout.

The Good: There is a lot of “stuff” woven into this story and I could honestly say that this fact was both a positive and a negative. I enjoyed meeting the many characters in the book and pondering over the mystery of the family’s wealth and secrets. The setting was great…I found this lakeside “compound” that only includes members of the Winslow family to be very interesting. The main character, Mabel could easily be an unlikeable person but I appreciated her honesty. As an example, Lu, one of the Winslows gives Mabel a friendship bracelet that she made and Mabel is a bit disappointed because she expects more in a gift from such a wealthy person. For some reason, this struck me as funny. Mabel is a very naive person, albeit a bit stereotypical (virginal, chubby, plain girl). The writing style made for a quick read and I didn’t want to put it down.

What I didn’t Like: I found the revelations to be a bit lackluster and some of the story was far-fetched. I also felt that we didn’t really get to know the characters as well as I would have liked. There was a bit of insta-love that didn’t feel realistic to me. Because there was a lot happening in the story, some aspects of the story weren’t explained adequately enough…they were shortly visited and never mentioned again. The ending was a bit confusing and could have been explained with more detail, I wanted to know more.

My Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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