Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles to a convent. There she is told the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, is sold for a handful of bitter greens...
After Margherita's father steals from the walled garden of Selena Leonelli, he is forced to relinquish his precious girl. Selena, the famous muse of Tiziano, is at the center of Renaissance life.
Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does.

If you like gloriously remastered fairy tales, twisted and flawed narrators, layered and tragic villains, powerful women, a little bit of romance and a great deal of historical fiction… this book is the one for you!!!  Bitter Greens is an amazing novel which I would recommend to just about anyone!

Don't you know a woman's tongue is her sword? You wouldn't want me to let my only weapon rust, would you?

The year is 1666 and French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force, the witty and brusque woman who never could keep hold of her tongue, finds herself thrown from court life at the Palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV, and into the dreadful confines of an isolated and rundown convent.  Mistreated, scorned and isolated, Charlotte-Rose finds an unexpected comfort in the stories of the generous and tender nun, Sœur Seraphina.  She is enchanted by the story of Marguerita, a young girl of great beauty sold to a witch for a mere handful of bitter greens, and of Selena, the gorgeous muse of the shallow and capricious artist Tiziano, who longs to retain her youth and beauty forever.

As the threads of the women’s lives are powerfully intertwined, they all become a part of the endless battles of women in a world of seduction and betrayal, power and resentment, pain and superstition. 

Forsyth’s writing is magnificent, the plot riveting, and the characters drew me in with their complexity.  This novel expertly weaves the retelling of Rapunzel with the origins of the original story, creating a multidimensional plot that was almost impossible to fault.  While a little slow at the beginning, the intriguing storyline had me transfixed early on and kept me interesting through the entire, considerable, length of it.

Bitter Greens isn’t a light book but it is a good one.  The result of masterful writing and thorough research, this is a book to be savoured.

Rating: 4/5

Grab a copy of this fantastic historical novel at Amazon or Book Depository!