Blog Tour- Review and Giveaway of Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

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I am so honored to be included on the tour for Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. This book was breathtaking and one of my favorites of the year (and all time really). I will read anything (and everything) Forsyth writes. If you enjoy retellings or historical fiction with adult themes you will love this book. Go forth and read!

Today I have my flail ridden review and a giveaway provided so kindly by the publisher.

Bitter GreensBitter Greens
By: Kate Forsyth
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Format: Print ARC
Source: friend (thank you Anya!)

This is an adult book so has mature content.

My Rating:

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, 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…

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, sixty-four 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, retaining her youth and beauty by the blood of young red-haired girls.

After Margherita’s 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 red-haired girl. And so, when she turns seven, Margherita is locked away in a tower, her hair woven together with the locks of all the girls before her, growing to womanhood under the shadow of La Strega Bella, and dreaming of being rescued…

Three women, three lives, three stories, braided together to create a compelling story of desire, obsession, black magic and the redemptive power of love.

My Thoughts:
This book was breathtaking and I have failed to find words to adequately describe how much I enjoyed it. I’ve sat on my review and notes for over a month attempting to figure out how to convey my emotions while reading. I can’t promise this will be coherent but I can say that I loved this book.

I went into it knowing only that it was an adult fiction retelling of Rapunzel. I was not nearly prepared for the epic and historical scope of what I was getting into.

Bitter Greens was written as a story within a story. We start first by meeting Charlotte-Rose and her banishment to a nunnery. Forsyth took me on a journey around France and Charlotte-Rose’s story and life. She was based upon a historic character that I had no knowledge of so I found this story to be incredibly intriguing. The setting was expertly done and I was easily transported to the Sun King, Louis XIV’s court.

It’s clear that Forsyth did her research to be able to convey the world and characters so realistically. The characters are the driving force behind this novel. Each was complex with incredible depth and motivations. I loved that we saw multiple view points, even that of the villain. The fact that the villain’s story had be at the edge of my seat and nearly crying for her was incredible.

Along with the historical feel we also have a very in depth and compelling retelling of Rapunzel. I will say I think this book was the most researched and best done look into a classic fairy tale I’ve read.

As I stated above, this review has been an ongoing struggle for me to write. It is not often that a book has left me completely speechless but this one did.

Final Thoughts:
If you like adult historical fiction, retellings, character driven stories and complex villains then Bitter Greens would probably be for you.

About the Kate Forsyth 1Author:
Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at the age of seven, and is now the internationally bestselling & award-winning author of thirty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both adults and children. She was recently voted one of Australia’s Favourite 20 Novelists, and has been called ‘one of the finest writers of this generation. She is also an accredited master storyteller with the Australian Guild of Storytellers, and has told stories to both children and adults all over the world.

Kate’s books have been published in 14 countries around the world, including the UK, the US, Russia, Germany, Japan, Turkey, Spain, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. She is currently undertaking a doctorate in fairytale retellings at the University of Technology, having already completed a BA in Literature and a MA in Creative Writing.

Kate is a direct descendant of Charlotte Waring, the author of the first book for children ever published in Australia, ‘A Mother’s Offering to her Children’. She lives by the sea in Sydney, Australia, with her husband, three children, and many thousands of books.

For more information please visit Kate Forsyth’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

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Bitter Greens 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 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 & Giveaway at Build a Bookshelf
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

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
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Sunday, October 5
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, October 6
Review at Book Babe
Review at A Bibliotaph’s
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
Review & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

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 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. says

    I love ones that are written as a story within a story and I do love Historicals, and sounds like the Rapunzel retelling aspect was written well. Does sound like it was well researched too for such an authentic feel (that’s sometimes my problem when within a historical setting, it either feels authentic or don’t.) And of course, I love character driven stories. I don’t usually read that much Adult, but definitely checking it out. 🙂 Glad you loved it!

    • says

      If you like all that then I think you’ll enjoy this one! It does have mature content and a bit slower pace than some young adult novels but it was never ever dull to me.

  2. says

    I really would love a great Princess and the Pea retelling. Thanks for the lovely review. I’ve been looking forward to reading this one for awhile now.

  3. says

    This book is sitting on my dresser staring at me i cant wait to read it but my TBR is running my life right now its definely getting snuck into rotation sooner rather than later. glad u enjoyed it! Historical fiction and a fairytale in one is like my dream book!
    ❤ Brittany @
    Please Feed the Bookworm

  4. erinf1 says

    I love that cover!!! Ummm… I think that if I had to pick, I’d say Little Mermaid too 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    You know I’m not the biggest fan of fairy tale retellings but this one, this one I already got for my Kindle as soon as you finished it actually and recommended it to me so highly! I hope I can get some time to read it and enjoy during my upcoming vacation, I have such a love for historical fiction!

    • says

      I didn’t know that Pili! I really enjoy retellings for the most part so this was right up my alley. I do think you’ll really like this one though. Let me know when you read it!! I can’t wait to hear what you think (good or bad)

  6. Jillyn says

    I know it’s been done to death, but I’d really like to read a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I actually enjoy. I’ve yet to read one where I thought “wow, I’m so glad that retelling happened, what a unique spin!”

  7. says

    Aw, amazing post Kristen 😀 I’m so so happy that you loved this book so much. <3 I am curious about it, but not ready for adult books yet, hih 🙂 But hopefully one day 😀 Thank you for sharing about this book. <3

  8. Liat says

    Ummm…probably Babayaga. I think it’s pretty hard to find a relatively well-known fairy tale that didn’t already get the retelling treatment…

  9. says

    Oh wow this sounds like a wonderfully written historical. I love it when the author is able to really transport you into the setting. It’s why I love historicals when they’re done well (like Cat Winters). And character driven is a MUST for me for this genre. I love how much depth and substance these characters seem to have! I hadn’t heard of this one before but I’ll def be keeping an eye out for it! Lovely review, hun!

    • says

      Thank you Giselle! I think you’d enjoy this one especially since you love Cat Winters too. Kate Forsyth is an amazing writer and this story was so complex, heartbreaking and beautiful.

  10. says

    I have read so many excellent retellings, but I would love to read a retelling of Bluebeard. That story is already really creepy, and a retelling could take that darkness and just run away with it!

  11. says

    I’m so excited to get my hands on this book! I love the Rapunzel fairy tale but I haven’t seen too many retellings of it. I would love to see a retellings of The Master Thief and The Princess on the Glass Hill! I loved both of those tales when I was a kid! Although, I would love to see more retellings of Beauty and the Beast even though it has been done many times. 🙂

  12. Crystal says

    I’m so happy to see that this book is going to be published in the US! I feel like I’ve had this book in my to be read list for the longest time and half feared I would never get a chance to read it unless I physically went to Australia to purchase this book. The fairy tale I would love to see retold would be “Beauty and the Beast”. I have read many beautiful retellings in the past year and wouldn’t mind reading more!

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