Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
"Novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force has been banished from the court of Versailles by Louis XIV. An old nun comforts her with the tale of a young girl sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens.... Taken from her beloved parents, Margherita is given to the courtesan Selena Leonelli. The famous red-haired beauty lives at the center of Renaissance life in Venice, a world of seduction and betrayal. Locked away in a tower, Margherita sings in the hope that someone will hear her. One day, a young man does. Award-winning author Kate Forsyth braids together the stories of Margherita, Selena, and Charlotte-Rose, the woman who penned Rapunzel as we now know it, to create an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman."
I received a copy of this book from the publishing company and I was so excited to read it! I love the story of Rapunzel, and couldn't wait to see how it all unfolded. This book is well written and well crafted, except that there are a lot of different characters, story lines, and time periods, and it was difficult to keep it all straight. I gave up looking at the dates at the beginning of each chapter because it didn't help. Once I started reading and figured out who it was talking about, then I was fine. The language in this book is beautifully done. The story is captivating and hooks you from the beginning. The character development is well done and it feels like you have known each of the characters for many years. I couldn't put the book down. Well, at the beginning. I was so intrigued. Then I got to the middle of the book and....ugh. It was way too much. This is not "Tangled" people. Think Brothers Grimm: dark, awful, gory, yucky, horrible. Rape, murder, suicide, prostitution, kidnapping, to name a few. The rape scene is....there are no words....disgusting, evil, and horrendous. It was way too much for me. I just about threw the book in the trash. Seriously. But I plugged through. The ending, thankfully, got better, and I found myself right back into it. There were a few surprises, and a few "Ahhhh....now I see." moments. If you take out the whole middle third of the book then I liked this book. With the middle, it's iffy. Definitely do not go into this book thinking it will be a happy, cute fairy tale. It's too bad, because this could have been really good, it was just too much for me.
There is profanity, a horrible rape scene, prostitution, "intimacy," murder, suicide, kidnapping, and some other creepy, yucky things (why is her hair so long?).
Rating: R (Profanity-including a couple of "f" words, a horrible rape scene, prostitution, "intimacy," murder, suicide, kidnapping, and some other creepy, yucky things.)
Recommendation: Adult. Please do not let children and YA read this book, it is not appropriate for them at all.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.