Friday, October 10, 2014

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth + a Giveaway

Hi, everyone! I am super stoked to be part of the Bitter Greens blog tour today! You'll likely recall seeing this Rapunzel retelling in my Pre Pub Book Buzz post here, so you know it's been on my radar and is one I've been looking forward to for some time now. Well, now I get to tell you all about it and, thanks to the publisher, I get to offer up a copy to one of you lucky readers as well! (Be sure to read through to the bottom to enter.)

Charlotte-Rose's life at court comes to a quite abrupt end when she is exiled by the King. Forced to join the sisters at the Abbey of Gercy-en-Brie, the stubborn authoress hopes to gain back the King's favor and eventually return to Versailles. Until then, she must endure her punishment as best she can. Life at the abbey is miserable - it's cold, the work is often backbreaking, and Charlotte-Rose's comments and temperament are very unwelcome. Then one of the nuns begins to tell her a story. A story of a young girl with long and lustrous locks of hair. A girl who is stolen from her parents and imprisoned by a wicked sorceress. 

Kate Forsyth hasn't just created a wonderful fairy tale retelling here. Nope, Bitter Greens is also fabulous historical fiction. Before now, I knew "Rapunzel" only as one of the Grimm tales. Imagine my surprise then to learn that the Grimm brothers' story is actually a retelling itself, one based on a French story by Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de la Force. Forsyth heads up Bitter Greens with a note on the history of the tale, attributing the first appearance of "Rapunzel" to Giambattista Basile. The note goes on to explain that no one is quite sure how the story traveled from Giambattista to Charlotte-Rose - Bitter Greens is then Forsyth's imagining of that.

Charlotte-Rose has an interesting story on her own. She was a member of the French court. She was secretly married to a man much younger than herself. And she was banished to a nunnery by order of the King. Forsyth's version of the exile is none too pleasant but the story Sœr Seraphina shares with her does offer her something of a reprieve from abbey life. For someone who spent so much of her time writing, it's easy to see how this would be a welcome and fascinating distraction for the character. (Upon arriving at the abbey, she is relieved of all of her quills, ink, and paper, a punishment that seems to sting for Charlotte-Rose more than anything else.)

I don't know that I'll ever tire of these retellings! If, however, you think you might be nearing the end of your own fascination with the trend, I do highly suggest you make room in your TBR for Bitter Greens anyway. It's such a unique version of the story and, again, a wonderful blend of fantasy, fairy tale, and history!

You can see a full listing of the tour posts over at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours here.

And now for the giveaway. To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, October 27. US only and no PO boxes please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


KAS said...

I've been following this book tour around the circuit; I am very, very excited to read this one! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed. Thanks for the giveaway opportunity, Becky. Cheers, Kara

Lisa Mandina said...

I love all these fairy tell retellings! Can't wait to read this one as well.

La La in the Library said...

Rapunzel was my favorite princess from my childhood because she was usually illustrated with red hair like mine. Thank-you for this fabulous giveaway. :)

traveler said...

This wonderful giveaway is captivating and special. Thanks for this great feature and review. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Anonymous said...

I'm a judge a book by its cover king of girl. The cover is absolutely beautiful!


MG said...

This book sounds like a perfect blend of history and magic! I love these retellings of the old tales.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for the giveaway! This is one book I've been hearing good things about and wanting to read for a while now. :)

bn100 said...

Interesting sounding

Unknown said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to win Wild Girl!