Bitter Greens

Bitter Greens

A Novel

Book - 2014 | First U.S. edition
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"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"
Publisher: New York : Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, 2014
Edition: First U.S. edition
Copyright Date: ©2012
ISBN: 9781250047533
Branch Call Number: F FORSY-K
Characteristics: 495 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 29, 2020

This was an excellent book! First book I have enjoyed in a very long time. Adult rendition of a Fairy Tail.

Nov 26, 2019

Another great author of well-researched historical fiction for anyone who enjoys Phillipa Gregory! The author creates nested stories centered on a re-telling of the Rapunzel fairy tale, all sharing the theme of women using all the wiles and ways at their disposal to exercise autonomy & agency under oppressive circumstances. Spicy without being randy ;-)

SCL_Angela Apr 18, 2017

Beautifully written. A lovely mix of historical fiction and fairy tale.

Dec 11, 2016

Liked it a lot in the beginning, but then somewhere around 300 pages in I began to get a little bored, as I found myself far more interested in Margherita's story than I was in the tale of how Charlotte-Rose eloped with her husband. Then, somehow, the Rapunzel tale was wrapped up a little quickly, and I felt that the villain kind of fizzled out at the end. It seemed to falter under the weight of its own magnitude it set up in the beginning.

samdog123 Mar 24, 2015

Highly recommended by the 'Dewey Divas,' a group of Canadian based publishing representatives. A fascinating piece of historical fiction that puts a new spin on the Rapunzel fairytale. Based on the real life writer of this actual tale, Charlotte Rose de la Force, a French noblewoman in the times of Louis XIV, it flips back and forth from her story to that of Margherita, the fictional Rapunzel. Fascinating details about Versailles, the politics of the court, and religious upheaval that took place during that time in history. The story focuses on Charlotte's loves and losses and her banishment to a convent where she meets Sister Seraphina who reveals the story of Rapunzel. Loved it.

MedinaReads Mar 02, 2015

After losing favor with the king of France, novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force is ousted from his court at Versailles, exiled to an abbey in the country. There she hears the story of Margherita, a girl with impossibly long hair who is trapped in a lonely tower, and the witch Selena, her captor. This fresh twist on the fairy tale Rapunzel weaves together the stories of Charlotte-Rose, Margherita and Selena, spanning hundreds of years and countless heartaches. Historical fiction and magical realism blend together to create one gorgeous tale. ​
Recommended by K.G., Medina Library, MCDL

d2013 Jan 19, 2015

A wonderful take on the Rapunzel story. From the beginning to the end, it draws you in. Wonderful read!

ChristchurchLib Dec 04, 2014

Banished from the court of Versailles by Louis XIV and confined to a convent, French novelist Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force finds an ally in Sœur Seraphina, who tells her the story of Margherita, a girl sold to a famous Venetian courtesan for a handful of bitter greens. As the elderly nun spins her fantastical tale, Charlotte-Rose discovers that her fate is inextricably tied to Margherita's. Based on the life of the writer whose fable "Persinette" inspired the fairy tale now known as "Rapunzel," this enchanting debut novel blends the storytelling traditions of 17th-century France and Renaissance Italy. Historical Fiction newsletter November 2014.

Nov 02, 2014

A beautifully researched novel that manages to balance both the fantastical elements of a fairytale and the historical uncertainty of 17th century France. It is a story within a story within a story each revolving around a woman and each woman connected to the other. Recommend for those who love rich settings, vivid history, romance, fairytale tropes and dark drama.

Oct 10, 2014

This book is a story within a story. It begins within the historical setting of the court of Louis XIV. Written around the real life character of Charlotte Rose who was the inspiration for the original Rapunzel fairy tale. The secondary story is the adaptation of that fairy tale which was really well done. There were some eye rolling bodice ripping scenes but there were also long sections of the book that I couldn't put down. Personally I enjoyed the Rapunzel portion of the story more than the part about Charlotte Rose but overall it was quite good.


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May 07, 2019

marlos330 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over


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