Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough
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Date Released
150 x 230mm
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Other Titles by Colleen McCullough

Because they are two sets of twins, the four Latimer sisters are as close as can be. Yet each of these vivacious young women has her own dream for herself: Edda wants to be a doctor, Grace wants to marry, Tufts wants never to marry, and Kitty wishes to be known for something other than her beauty. They are famous throughout New South Wales for their beauty, wit, and ambition, but as they step into womanhood at the beginning of the twentieth century, life holds limited prospects for them.

Together they decide to enroll in a training program for nurses—a new option for women of their time. As the Latimer sisters become immersed in hospital life and the demands of their training, each must make weighty decisions about love, career, and what she values most. The results are sometimes happy, sometimes heartbreaking, but always…bittersweet.
Publication Date:
01 / 03 / 2017
150 x 230mm
I found this to be a supreme let down. But I'll qualify that by saying that I rarely read Australian books and I even more rarely read Australian literature. Full of stereotypes and cliches, I honestly felt like McCullough was checking boxes off the "What to include in your period lit novel" list. I think that each of the four girls would have been better developed if they had gotten to be the sole focus of their own novels. I didn't hate any of the characters all that much apart from Charles, he was an utter goose from the beginning. I did enjoy reading about each of the sisters though Grace was by far the least interesting. Domestic life, just, I can't even. This was an interesting era in Australian history to read about but the book as a whole just felt a bit higgledy piggledy. As this was McCullough's final novel before her death, one has to wonder if her health impacted her writing. The ending was okay but far from solid and it grosses me out endlessly that Jack Thurlow held no qualms, along with everyone else it seems; about getting through three of the four sisters before settling for a life of adultery with the still married Kitty. Consequently, their "relationship" was extremely rushed and felt flat and baseless. This book makes it seem like 1920s Australia was nothing but political upheaval, social standing and instalove. Generally speaking, I didn't hate this book (I'd have given it 1 star) but it was far from something I enjoyed or would recommend. - Samantha (QBD)
, 22/06/2017

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