Title: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Author: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
Genre: Historical Fantasy
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. She is comforted by an old nun, Sur 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 Margheritas father steals a handful of parsley, wintercress and rapunzel from the walled garden of the courtesan, Selena Leonelli, he is threatened with having both hands cut off unless he and his wife give away their little girl.
Selena is the famous red-haired muse of the artist Tiziano, first painted by him in 1513 and still inspiring him at the time of his death, sixty-one years later. Called La Strega Bella, Selena is at the centre of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of beauty and danger, seduction and betrayal, love and superstition.
Locked away in a tower, growing to womanhood, Margherita sings in the hope someone will hear her. One day, a young man does
Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic, and the redemptive power of love.
OK so you want more than wow? As a child I devoured the Hans Christian Anderson and the Grimm Brothers stories. Rapunzel was one of my favourite Grimm stories and I was delighted to see that the BITTER GREENS character Charlotte-Rose de la Force was a real historical figure who wrote the story of Persinette which was adapted by the Grimm brothers who presented it as Rapunzel.
Too complicated? Then dont worry about it just read the story and allow yourself to be swept away into a whole new historical fantasy world that blends truth with fiction, known history with alternative history, and real characters with make-believe characters; or are they?
I have to confess at first I was taken aback by the sheer size of the book. But I need not have worried because the pages just disappeared as I became immersed in the story. In fact, time almost had no meaning as long as I was reading, and by the end of the book I was almost wishing there were more pages. BITTER GREENS is beautifully written, with wonderful evocative phrases on nearly every page that conjures up the historical period vividly. It has three stories that make up the whole tale. The fates of the three main characters are more closely connected than it would first appear. Whilst young Margherita is physically incarcerated in a remote tower, and bound by both physical walls and magic to stay there. Charlotte-Rose and Selena are each bound by the societies that they live in. Bound by court etiquette, the position of women in society at that time of history, the church and their parents and husbands, women were very restricted; and when rules were broken the consequences were far greater for the woman that the men.
Selena and Charlotte-Rose tell their own stories, but the story of Margherita is told in the third person. The stories are all interwoven with connections that dont become apparent until later on there are twists; turns; intrigue; danger and black magic all set against a background of Huguenot persecution and catastrophic and horror-ridden waves of the black plague.
Author, Kate Forsyth, made the ultimate sacrifice for her craft and forced herself to travel to Paris, Gascony, Venice and the Italian Lakes for inspiration. She has a new book coming out in mid-March THE WILD GIRL and it is based on Dortchen Wild, the real historical character who was the wife of one of the Grimm brothers. If it is even as half as good as BITTER GREENS then it will be a book that will linger in your mind for a long time after you finally close it.
Rating: A Excellent. I could not put it down.
For more about the author Click Here
Bitter Greens is book #7 for AWW2013