57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
Good summer reading with mystery, romance, and more,
This review is from: Bittersweet: A Novel (Hardcover)
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Mabel Dagmar is an ordinary-looking young woman, a scholarship student in her first year in an unnamed East Coast college. Her roommate is the blonde, blue-eyed, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. No, Genevra is not perfect, and Mabel knows that, but she thinks highly of her roommate and is happy when she’s invited to spend the summer at the Winslows’ summer place Bittersweet in Vermont.
On the one hand, the summer seems idyllic – picnics, parties, late-night swims. But, just like Genevra is far from perfect, the whole Winslow family has kept secrets for much longer than the century it has owned Bittersweet. It ends up being Mabel’s mission to seek out more about these secrets in old journals and other artifacts. She ends up very much over her head and, at times, wondering about the line between right and wrong.
The author does a very good job with characterization and setting. I found it fairly easy to visualize each character and understand the setting. I could sympathize with the good characters and saw the evil in the bad ones, and even the good ones had flaws enough to make them human. As for the setting, Vermont is one of the few states I have never visited, but I can imagine what a wealthy family’s estate in rural Vermont must be like from this novel.
What could be better about this novel? The pacing seems a little uneven, and for no apparent reason. Sometimes I wanted things to move a little faster; sometimes I wanted things to slow down. However, after a moment’s thought, I wonder if the author isn’t handling things this way because summer is just like that – fast-paced one minute, slower-paced the next.
Overall, though, I give this novel a solid four stars; readers will see it as a good summer novel with a mix of romance, mystery, and more.