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Bittersweet: A Novel Paperback – May 12, 2015
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"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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"Filled with humor, insight and captivating historical detail, McCullough's latest is a wise and warm tribute to family, female empowerment and her native land." (People)
“Just as epic as her ultra-romantic classic, The Thorn Birds.” (Marie Claire)
"Readers of historical family dramas will be excited to find a new, satisfying book to enjoy while longtime fans of The Thorn Birds will be over the moon, welcoming back a dear old friend. Take it to the beach, on the plane, or the couch, this book will be the best traveling companion of the summer." (Library Journal, starred review)
"McCullough's richly drawn characters grab control of the heartstrings from the beginning...and prove that, even when choices are not in wide supply, happiness is attainable--even if, at times, it is bittersweet." (Publishers Weekly)
"A fascinating exploration of the bonds between sisters and a fine historical novel." (Booklist)
"Vintage McCullough . . . underlines several of McCullough's enormous strengths as a writer—superbly deft characterization; multiple plots that move apace; a warmth and generosity in the telling; and dialogue sharp and, in moments, uproariously funny . . . a meditation on love and the decisions we make that riffle into our future." (The Courier-Mail)
“Lovers of McCullough’s bestseller The Thorn Birds will be happy to hear that Bittersweet takes us back to historic country Australia . . . as clever, compelling, and as down-to-earth as its four heroines.” (Australian Women's Weekly)
“It’s the heartwarming family bonds that will have you passing this gem on to friends.” (Better Homes and Gardens (Australia))
“A master class in succinct, precise prose, captivating yet flawed characters and an engrossing historical setting…meticulously researched and cleverly composed.” (Good Reading (Australia))
“Fabulous . . . engrossing.” (Manly Daily (Sydney))
“A great read.” (Weekend Australian)
About the Author
Colleen McCullough, a native of Australia, established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney before working as a researcher at Yale Medical School for ten years. She is the bestselling author of numerous novels, including The Thorn Birds, and lives with her husband on Norfolk Island in the South Pacific.
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Top customer reviews
While they cherish their independent lives, at first things are pretty harsh with a very strict Matron and a wealthy hospital run by a skinflint Superintendent. While they survive by helping one another, each girl has their own battles to fight which quickly sorts out the differences between the girls and their ambitions. Things change when Dr. Charles Burdum, a very rich English relation of one of the district's wealthiest graziers, takes over as Superintendent and shakes up the hospital and its staff. After an upper class English upbringing, Charles' adjustment to life in Australia as 'Charlie the Pommy' is very amusing.
Each sister makes their own very different decisions about their future careers and partners. Kitty, who has been spoiled and pampered by her mother, is the first one to meet Charles on a train from Melbourne when he invades the privacy of her railway compartment. Despite her first greeting - "Piss off you presumptuous little twerp" - Charles believes that someone with Kitty's beauty would make him a perfect wife.
The story covers the start of the Great Depression that affects everyone in different ways and to different degrees. While each of the sisters face their own challenges and sufferings, the bond between them never falters. They conclude that "Nothing is so sweet that there's no tinge of bitter in it."
It has been a while since I have read any books by prolific writer Colleen McCullough, mainly because I was distracted by her scholarly but IMHO difficult and uninspiring "Masters of Rome" series. McCullough is still a great storyteller, especially of family sagas. While I found the character of Charles a bit over the top and unbelievable, overall I enjoyed and can recommend "Bittersweet". It is not clear if there will be a sequel but the ending seemed to leave scope for visiting the lives of the sisters later on in their lives.
It was also hard for me to tell exactly who was talking or thinking...could be a main character or could be another character. I just did not care for how it was written and I was confused. I also was confused by how much time had passed. I thought years, but then it would only be months. Just and oddly written book.
I gave it two stars instead of one simply because it is Colleen McCullough and she wrote The Thorn Birds...