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Bitter Greens Audiobook, by Kate Forsyth Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Kate Forsyth Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781483017679
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From internationally bestselling author Kate Forsyth comes a historical novel that gorgeously interweaves the Rapunzel fairy tale with the true life story of French novelist Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force.

Charlotte-Rose 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, Sister Seraphina, who tells her the tale of a young girl who, a hundred years earlier, was sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens.

After Margherita’s father steals 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 1512 and still inspiring him at the time of his death. Selena 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.

This sumptuous novel holds the stories of three women, braided together to create a compelling tale of desire, black magic, and the redemptive power of love. Bitter Greens is an impressive feat of storytelling.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is an enthralling concoction of history and magic, an absorbing, richly detailed, and heart-wrenching reimagining of a timeless fairy tale.”

    Jennifer Chiaverini, New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

  • “A magical blend of myth and history, truth and legend, Bitter Greens is one of those rare books that keeps you reading long after the lights have gone out, that carries you effortlessly to another place and time, that makes you weep and laugh and wish you could flip forward to make sure it all ends happily ever after—but for the fact that if you did so, you might miss a line, and no line of this book should be missed.”

    Lauren Willig, New York Times bestselling author of The Ashford Affair

  • “See how three vividly drawn women cope with injustice, loneliness, fear, longing. See how they survive—or perpetrate—treachery. Surrender yourself to a master storyteller, to delicious detail and spunky heroines. Bitter Greens is a complex, dazzling achievement.”

    Susan Vreeland, New York Times bestselling author of Clara and Mr. Tiffany

  • “Kate Forsyth wields her pen with all the grace and finesse of a master swordsman. In Bitter Greens she conjures a lyrical fairy tale that is by turns breathtaking, inspiring, poetic, and heartbreakingly lovely. Set like a jewel within the events of history, it is pure, peerless enchantment.”

    Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Threads of history and folklore are richly intertwined to form this spellbinding story.”

    Juliet Marillier, Alex Award–winning author of Daughter of the Forest

  • “The best fairy tale retelling since Angela Carter.”

    Kim Wilkins, Aurealis Award–winning author of Angel of Ruin

  • “A must for all lovers of historical fiction—Philippa Gregory watch out!”

    Pamela Freeman, Aurealis Award–winning author of The Veil of Gold

  • “Forsyth has transformed what must have been a truly massive amount of research into a rich and lively story, presenting historical realities that seem fantastical and fantastical elements that feel real.”

    Margo Lanagan, World Fantasy Award–winning author

  • “Skilfully weaving a delicious, disturbing, multicolored story, Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens grippingly brings to life a world of magic, corruption, cruelty, and love.”

    Sophie Masson, Wrightson Prize–winning author of The Hunt for Ned Kelly

  • “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 us. Full of palace intrigue, dark magic, romance, and lush, evocative descriptions, this is historical fiction at its finest.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “Fans of this type of fiction will doubtless be enchanted by the operatic nature of the stories and the fascinating historical details of life at Louis’ court.”


  • “Forsyth blends fact and fiction in a novel that combines the story of a young woman with long hair who’s been locked in a tower with the tale of the real-life Frenchwoman who wrote the story we know as ‘Rapunzel’…She convincingly conveys a fairy tale–like quality in her writing and peppers the narrative with historical detail and some interesting twists that neatly tie together the strands of the story. This unconventional spin on a children’s classic is a captivating read and unquestionably aimed toward adults.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Bitter Greens is pure enchantment—gripping and lyrical…Kate Forsyth weaves an engrossing, gorgeously written tale…Forsyth has crafted an often terrifying but ultimately redemptive dark fairy tale of the heart.”

    Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille

  • “Kate Forsyth’s Bitter Greens is not only a magnificent achievement that would make any novelist jealous, it’s one of the most beautiful paeans to the magic of storytelling that I’ve ever read.”

    C. W. Gortner, author of The Queen’s Vow and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici

  • A Library Journal Best Book of 2014
  • On the 2015 RUSA Reading List: Winner in the Historical Fiction Category

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About the Author

Kate Forsyth wrote her first novel at age seven, and has since sold more than a million copies. Her books include Bitter Greens, a reimagining of “Rapunzel” which won the 2015 ALA Award for Best Historical Fiction, and the collection of feminist fairy-tale retellings Vasilisa the Wise & Other Tales of Brave Young Women, which came in second in the Fairies and Folklore category of the 2018 Readers Favorite book awards. Kate has a doctorate in fairy-tale studies and is an accredited master storyteller.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across many genres, over a thirty year plus career. Audie Awards: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (mystery), Breasts (non-fiction), Bellwether (fiction), and Words of Radiance (fantasy), co-narrated with her husband, Michael Kramer. Among other awards, she has been recognized with: the ALA Booklist best of 2019 for Bowlaway (fiction), AudioFile Magazine Voice of the Century, Earphones Awards, Narrator of the Year, Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Publisher’s Weekly’s Listen-Up Award. She records at her home studio, Madison Productions, Inc., in Maryland.