Thursday 19 November 2015

Book Review: Bitter Greens; Kate Forsyth.

I received this book as a gift on my 22nd Birthday and I was so glad because I'd been after it for quite a while! You all know how I love Fairy Tale retellings, and this Rapunzel adaptation looked a little different to usual because it had a huge dose of Historical Fiction in it! This is also a Monthly Motif entrant!

TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Bitter Greens
AUTHOR: Kate Forsyth
PUBLISHER: Walker Books Ltd
PAGES: 480
GENRE: Adult, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Charlotte-Rose de la Force, exiled from the court of the Sun King Louis XIV, has always been a great teller of tales.

Selena Leonelli, once the exquisite muse of the great Venetian artist Titian, is terrified of time.

Margherita, trapped in a doorless tower and burdened by tangles of her red-gold hair, must find a way to escape.

Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together in a compelling tale of desire, obsession and the redemptive power of love.

What I Liked:
  • The three main plot-lines that Forsyth chose to write were very well intertwined and each one brought something totally new to the table which kept me engaged throughout the novel. Each tale was told by three women with distinct personalities: I loved Charlotte's wit and intelligence, Margherita's sincerity and sweetness and Selena's sharpness and ability to handle herself. Only one truly felt like a Rapunzel retelling and yet they all had a Fairy Tale like quality.
  • I was impressed by Forsyth's academic resume so I had high expectations for her ability to build a believable world, especially in terms of Historical accuracy. I was not disappointed. My own knowledge of the period is limited but I felt very educated on court life in various parts of Europe and it seamlessly weaved with magical and fantastical elements that gave it a Fairy Tale feel.
What I Disliked:
  • There were moments that I feel the plots jumped about a little too much and the structure felt a little random and unplanned. I also got a little lost because there were so many characters, all with similar titles. Some were only mentioned once and others were far more important. That mixed with nicknames meant that things became even more confusing. These are only small things that slightly irritated me, and they didn't in any way ruin my reading experience.
Overall Conclusion:
This book took me a long time to get through, but I really did adore it. Likeable characters, a gorgeously spun Fairy Tale and riddled with Historical accuracies that showed a vast amount of research. At times the structure felt a little bizarre but it was only a minor issue for the most part. This is a beautiful retelling of Rapunzel and the woman who first wrote down the tale. I thoroughly recommend this read!

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