Thursday, September 18, 2014

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth ~ Review & Giveaway

Title: Bitter Greens
Author: Kate Forsyth
Genre: Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Fairy-tale Retelling
Publication Date: 23rd September 2014 (1st published March 2012)
Pages: 496
Book Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Synopsis: 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 Thoughts:
Absolutely mesmerising, Kate Forsyth takes the magic of storytelling to a realm above and beyond. 

From the frivolity and excesses of the 17th century Court of Versailles to austere French cloisters and 16th century Renaissance Venice. I'm fascinated by this period in history, Kate's research and superb imagery give a perceptible sense of time and place and her breathtaking imagination brings the Rapunzel fairytale to life. I loved the vivid descriptions of affairs, betrayals, politics, fashion, entertainments, the horror of the plague, persecution of Heugenots, (Protestants) recantings and executions, the Affair of the Poisons where many were sentenced by the Chambre Ardente under charges of witchcraft and poisonings. I probably sound like a bit of a freak but I love it all, the history both fascinates and terrifies me. 

Bitter Greens unfolds from the perspective of three extraordinary characters; the wonderful Charlotte-Rose de La Force, confined to the Abbey of Gercy-en-Brie after displeasing the Sun King, Louis XIV, the young girl Margherita, nicknamed Persinette (little Parsley) imprisoned in a tower (her story told by nun, Soeur Seraphina on befriending Charlotte-Rose) and the beautiful courtesan Selena Leonelli, 'La Strega Bella' ... her story both heartbreaking and horrifying. 

Bitter Greens is a dark tale; love, desire, power and vengeance pulling at each other. So much sorrow, heartache and cruelty but hope and love the constants that eventually offer redemption. 

Bitter Greens holds a world you slip into effortlessly, disappearing for hours, binding you, haunting and bittersweet ... I was alternately desperate to know and longing to savour. It's a must-read. 

Kate Forsyth truly does weave magic!


Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force was a French noblewoman, novelist and poet. Her fairytale collection written during her banishment included 'Persinette' eventually renamed Rapunzel. 

I also loved Kate's The Wild Girl ... (a 5 star favourite) but oh my Bitter Greens is my favourite of favourites!  


Tour Hashtag #BitterGreensBlogTour
 

Connect with Kate Forsyth:


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Giveaway:
I'm thrilled to offer readers the chance to win a paperback copy of BITTER GREENS. Just leave a relevant comment or question along with your email address. US only sorry

Extra Entries: 
+ 2 tweet giveaway and leave a link

Giveaway ends 2nd October and winner will be announced on my blog. Good luck everyone!






37 comments:

  1. Two of my favorite genres...historical fiction and fairy tales. I would lbe to read this book! Jilian15@hotmail.com

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    1. Sounds like this would be the perfect read for you Jilian. Good luck :)

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  2. This sounds like the story is as beautiful as the cover! I do love fairy tales and this sounds really interesting. I'll definitely have to look for it. Wonderful review!

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    1. Thanks Katherine, Kate Forsyth is the Queen of fairytale re-tellings, hope you get to enjoy this one.

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  3. I have heard nothing but good things about this book. It sounds like it has a little bit of everything! Bitter Greens has been on my wish list for awhile now :) HPelkey1982@yahoo.com

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    1. Good luck Holly, those good things are no exaggeration. Such a wonderful read!

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  4. Replies
    1. It's magical Julie, you're a fan of fairytale re-tellings aren't you?

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  5. What a great-sounding story. Just reading the synopsis gets my imagination fired up. I'd love to win a copy, thanks for the chance.
    carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    I also tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/512454993274613760
    and pinned it 'cause WTH, I'm an overachiever: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/336573772125704950/

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    1. Good luck with the giveaway Carl and thanks for being an overachiever haha

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  6. So while not entering the giveaway - this does sound an amazing book. I love fairytales and I think that is what might draw me to it. I am not a huge historical reader, but have read some! This could be one of the few!

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    1. Ooh I hope you choose to read it Kathryn, I think I owe you a recommendation ... don't I ;)

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  7. I love the cover, I want to read it cos of that

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    1. and the contents live up to the gorgeous cover! I'm a bit of a cover whore and this one screams read me!

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  8. Replies
    1. Have you read The Wild Girl Shelleyrae?

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  9. A delightful and intriguing book which I would enjoy greatly. thanks for this lovely giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. I've never heard of Kate before, so I'm excited to discover another fairy tale reteller. I run a fairy tale themed blog, so will definitely be sharing this with my readers. timelesstalesmagazine@gmail.com

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    1. Tahlia I'm sure you'll love Kate, Bitter Greens and The Wild Girl both amazing stories. I'll stop by and check out your fairy tale themed blog.

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  11. I will have to add this to my TBR, given your glowing review. It reminds me of 2 films I really enjoyed: La Reine Margot (with Isabella Adjania) and The Courtesan. Not eligible for the comp but just wanted to leave a comment anyway. Cheers

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    1. La Reine Margot, that's Catherine de Medici's daughter isn't it Sherryl? Add Christopher Gortner's The Confessions of Catherine de Medici to your TBR pile, it's fantastic, especially if you love that time frame.

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  12. Historical grabs my attention but I'm not so sure about fairy-tale...your review makes me think I need to give it a try. I love the cover.

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    1. Have we steered each other wrong yet? I'm going to make you try it now Karen lol, I actually have the Aussie print version you can borrow.

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    2. Awesome, I would love to borrow Teddyree....and no you've not steered me wrong yet!

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  13. That cover is beautiful! I love both historical fiction and fairy-tale genred books so this is definitely a book I need to read! My blog email is blissfulbooks1@gmail.com

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  14. I am so thrilled for this title! Historical fiction and a retelling all rolled up into one perfect book! GAH! I cant wait!! Here is my tweet

    https://twitter.com/kalebsmome/status/513096156625137664

    and my email is Brittersweet83@aol.com

    Thanks for your review and this amazing giveaway!!

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  15. This looks very good, love the time period. I've seen a couple of other reviews for this and they were positive as well. Thanks for the giveaway chance.

    ghill331@gmail.com

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  16. I've heard such great things and I can't wait to read this one.

    Lindsey.Stefan@comcast.net

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  17. I'm really looking forward to reading Bitter Greens. Love the cover!

    Pamela
    twogirlsandtea@gmail.com

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  18. Seems that everywhere I read there is nothing but compliments about Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I am wondering if there's similarity to The GOlem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker and this book?

    Svet_chick@yahoo.ca

    By the way, here's my twitter address :)

    https://twitter.com/Aurora851/status/514924104009646080

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  19. This historical would be captivating and memorable.Thanks for this lovely giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. Sounds like such a great book! I love fairy tale retellings.

    emmiller(at)bellsouth(dot)net

    and a twitter entry:

    https://twitter.com/ylimemiller/status/515335022178754560

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  21. Wow! I think I'd love to lose myself for a few hours in that world! I'd love to win :)
    stacybooks at yahoo

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  22. I recently added this to my Fall Wishlist and now I see you are offering a chance for it. The cover is just lovely, the author is highly praised and the storyline sounds intriguing. I can't wait to read it, whether or not I win this giveaway, so thanks!

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  23. I have loved the Rapunzel story since I was little because she was usually illustrated with red hair like mine. I was teased quite a bit, while growing up, about my hair color, so being able to imagine a princess with my color was nice. Thank-you for the stellar giveaway. ts.teabox@gmail.com

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    1. Here is my tweet link.https://mobile.twitter.com/LaLaT0adst0ne/status/517508238691270656

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