Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review: Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

This is the story of two sets of twins, Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty, who struggle against all the restraints, prohibitions, laws and prejudices of 1920s Australia. Only the submissive yet steely Grace burns for marriage; the sleekly sophisticated Edda burns to be a doctor, the down-to-earth but courageous Tufts burns never to marry, and the too-beautiful, internally scarred Kitty burns for a love free from male ownership.

Turbulent times, terrible torments, but the four magnificent Latimer sisters, each so different, love as women do: with tenderness as well as passion, and with hearts roomy enough to hold their men, their children, their careers and their sisters.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: August 19th 2014 by Simon & Schuster
Genre: Historical Fiction

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I was extremely excited to read this book because I loved The Thorn Birds and was hoping that McCullough would blow me away again with this one.

What I liked...

I liked the fact that the story revolved around two sets of twins. Being a twin myself, I could relate to the relationships and closeness of the four sisters.

The fact that the story takes place during a time of great differences and historically significant events was very appealing to me. Although a fictional story I got a good feel for the trials and tribulations of that time period.

I also liked that the book told each sisters story.


At times I felt like the story really dragged and I had to force myself not to skim the pages.

With telling each of the sisters story I felt that each individual story was a little rushed and lacked some of the necessary development. Each sister almost needed her own story in a separate book so that I could connect fully with each character and understand each one of them better. Although each sister is touched on, I felt there could have been more and in the end I really didn't know a whole lot about Tufts.

In the end I liked the book but found that it lacked that certain something that I found in The Thorn Birds. I was hoping for another epic love story but it fell a little short of it.

About the Author

 Colleen McCullough AO (born 1 June 1937) is an internationally acclaimed Australian author. Colleen was born in Wellington in central west New South Wales to James and Laurie McCullough.

She grew up during World War II. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. In 1963 she moved to the United Kingdom where she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale University at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, who offered her a research associate job at Yale. McCullough spent ten years researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. In the late 1970s she settled on Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson, to whom she has been married since 1983. She now lives in Sydney.

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