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Bitter Greens

A Novel

Kate Forsyth

Thomas Dunne Books

The amazing power and truth of the Rapunzel fairy tale comes alive for the first time in this breathtaking tale of desire, black magic and the redemptive power of love

French novelist 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. At the convent, 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 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.

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 what is a sumptuous historical novel, an enchanting fairy tale retelling, and a loving tribute to the imagination of one remarkable woman.

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A Heart of Gall
Château de Cazeneuve, Gascony, France – June 1666


I had always been a great talker and teller of tales.

‘You should put a lock on that tongue of yours. It’s long enough and sharp enough to slit your own throat,’ our guardian warned me, the night before I left home to go to the royal court at Versailles. He sat at the head of the long wooden table in the chateau’s arched dining room, lifting his lip in distaste as the servants brought us our usual peasant fare of sausage and white-bean cassoulet. He had not accustomed himself

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Praise for Bitter Greens

"Once there was a young woman living in the heart of Louis XIV's French court who dared to speak her mind, write, and fall in love, only to be banished to a convent because she could not hold her tongue. Many years earlier in Venice, a young girl was kidnapped and locked away in a tower by an evil witch. Australian novelist Forsyth (The Witches of Eileanan; The Wild Girl), in her U.S. hardcover debut, ties these two seemingly unrelated stories together to form a stunning interwoven tale based on the real-life story of Charlotte-Rose de la Force, the storyteller behind the most well-known version of Rapunzel. Charlotte-Rose's account of survival and hope is paired with that of her famous fairy tale heroine as both women face extraordinary circumstances. VERDICT Forsyth, a PhD candidate in fairy tale retellings, reflects her depth of knowledge in this captivating novel that enchants with its gorgeous narrative and memorable characters who discover how the choices we make define and bind

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Kate Forsyth

  • Kate Forsyth is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than twenty books, ranging from picture books to poetry to novels for both children and adults, including the Witches of Eileanan series. She is the only author to win five Aurealis Awards in a single year and was voted one of Australia’s Favourite 25 Novelists. Her books have been published in fourteen countries. She completed her doctorate in fairy tale retellings at the University of Technology in Sydney in 2014. Kate lives in Sydney, Australia.

  • Kate Forsyth © Jenn Bradley
    Kate Forsyth
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    Bitter Greens

    A Novel

    Kate Forsyth

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    Thomas Dunne Books

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