Friday, October 3, 2014

Blog Tour (Review): Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Title: Bitter Greens
Kate Forsyth
Publisher: Thomas Dunne (Macmillan)
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Blog Tours

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love

French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by the Sun King, Louis XIV, after a series of scandalous love affairs. At the convent, she is comforted by an old nun, Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens...

After Margherita’s father steals parsley from the walled garden of the courtesan Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off, unless he and his wife relinquish their precious little girl. Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. She is at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.

Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

My Review

Rapunzel was always one of my favorite fairy tales growing up, so it was only natural that I leap at the opportunity to review Kate Forsyth's retelling, Bitter Greens. It weaves the stories of three very different women in such a way that every page turned is like peeling back another layer of depth. In all honesty, I'm at a loss for words because this is one of the best books that I've read in 2014.

I want to talk about something that really struck home. King Louis XIV decided that he had his fill of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, and instead of banishing her from court, he had her essentially imprisoned in a nunnery. She was unable to keep her belongings, leave, write her friends or family - nothing. Yes, it mirrored the imprisonment of Margherita in her tower, but the part that bothered me so much was the powerlessness of these women and the hopelessness of their isolation. Maybe it wasn't the point of the story, but it made me grateful to live in a time and place where I couldn't be locked away because someone was tired of me or my lifestyle and ideas.

I think "masterful" is only word that I can use that is strong enough to describe the power of Forsyth's writing. The execution of her juxtaposition of Charlotte, Margherita, and Selena's stories was so perfect that it made me feel as if this was the way it all happened in reality. When fantasy transcends reality and makes you feel as if it is the truth, you know you've found something special. Bitter Greens is a rare book in this regard. I think Charlotte would be proud of what Forsyth did with her story.

I think fans of fantasy, fairy tales, and/or historical fiction alike will find something for them in Bitter Greens. If you only read one book on my recommendation this year, I sincerely hope that it is this one.

- 5/5 Stars -

Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound

About the Author

Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults, including the Witches of Eileanan series. She is the only author to win five Aurealis Awards in a single year and was voted one of Australia’s Favourite 25 Novelists. Her books have been published in fourteen countries. She completed her doctorate in fairy tale retellings at the University of Technology in Sydney in 2014.

Kate lives in Sydney, Australia.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 16
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review & Giveaway at Bookish

Wednesday, September 17
Review & Giveaway at Literary, etc
Review & Giveaway at Book Drunkard

Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader

Friday, September 19
Review at The Maiden’s Court
Review & Giveaway at Icey Books

Monday, September 22
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at A Dream Within a Dream
Spotlight at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, September 23
Review at Book Dilettante
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at SurLaLune

Wednesday, September 24
Review at Caroline Wilson Writes
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at Ink Gypsy
Review, Interview, and Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, September 25
Review & Giveaway at No BS Book Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Just One More Chapter

Friday, September 26
Review at The Gilmore Guide to Books
Review at Must Read Faster

Monday, September 29
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review & Giveaway at Bookworm Blues

Tuesday, September 30
Review at The Life & Times of a Book Addict
Review & Excerpt at Books-n-Kisses
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, October 1
Review at One Book at a Time
Review at Book-alicious Mama
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, October 2
Interview at Layered Pages
Review & Giveaway at Oh Magic Hour

Friday, October 3
Review at Bibliophilia, Please
Review & Giveaway at Gone Pecan

Sunday, October 5
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, October 6
Review at Book Babe
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews
Interview, Excerpt, & Giveaway at Harlequin Junkie

Tuesday, October 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Review & Giveaway at The Pretty Good Gatsby

Wednesday, October 8
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Review & Giveaway at My Friends Are Fiction

Thursday, October 9
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Friday, October 10
Review at Mel’s Shelves
Review & Giveaway at No More Grumpy Bookseller
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, October 13
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Review & Giveaway at Layers of Thought

Tuesday, October 14
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews

Wednesday, October 15
Review at Crossroad Review
Review at My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

Thursday, October 16
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Friday, October 17
Review at Mary Gramlich
Review at She Reads Novels

Monday, October 20
Interview & Giveaway at The Reading Frenzy


  1. Wow! okay. I wanted to read this before but now I am moving it to the top of the list. Great review!

    1. Thanks! It's so worth reading. I knew that I would like it, but it amazed me how much I did.

  2. I love retellings and this one sounds great. I'll definitely have to read it at some point.

    1. The audiobook is wonderful, if you're into those!

  3. Great review! I love retellings! Also, I really LOVE this cover! It's simply beautiful!

    1. Thank you! And I agree - the cover is gorgeous! It's perfect for the novel, too.

  4. I love fairy tale retellings, and this one sounds excellent. Thanks for the suggestion!

    1. You're welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


You are going to put words in my box?! *squeezes you* Now I shall stalk YOUR blog!