Popping in tonight to share my current read, Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. I am such a fan of Kate Forsyth – both in terms of her books (she’s an auto-buy author for me any time she has something new out, and I’m making my way through her backlist) and also any time I have the opportunity to hear her speak, be it in person or a podcast interview, or really anything else.
Bitter Greens has been on my to be read pile for the longest time, and I have really been looking forward to reading it, particularly since so many people I know have told me it is one of their favourite books. But I think I’ve put it off because it is so chunky! (I know I’m not the only one who procrastinates on the big books!). When I was deciding what should be the first book I picked up after finishing my Aurealis prize winning (and finally being open to something that wasn’t a fantasy novel) this seemed like the perfect choice, especially since I have a virtual workshop booked with Kate Forsyth in a few weeks, and this month marks the 10 year anniversary of its release.
So, what is Bitter Greens about? Check out the synopsis below (from Kate’s website).
Synopsis of Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
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…
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 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.
I’m looking forward to talking more about Bitter Greens after I finish reading it (I guess I’m about a third of the way through), but in the meantime you can check out my review of The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth here, and do let me know in the comments if you’ve read this one, or if you have another favourite fairytale retelling.