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Bittersweet Paperback – Sep 1 1999

4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (Sept. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380799502
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380799503
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.1 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,499,982 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A solid, unabashed piece of writing that glows with authenticity." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Barr has drawn on women's diaries from the Old West to bring detail to this unusual romance. The result is an intriguing story, sensitive and authentic-sounding, and far different from what is usually considered a Western novel." -- The Miami Herald

"The tender and gentle in its exploration of commitment between two women, especially in days when females were expected to live out their narrow lives doing exhausting work and obeying their husbands." -- St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch

About the Author

Navada Barr is the award-winning author of seven Anna Pigeon mysteries:Track of the Cat, A Superior Death, Ill Wind, Firestorm,Endangered Species, Blind Descent, and Liberty Falling. She lives in Mississippi and was most recently a ranger on the Natchez Trace Parkway

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
A RAWBONED WOMAN NEARLY SIX FEET TALL PULLED ON THE BRASS handle; the door was wedged against the lintel and wouldn't close-the fog that had lain over Philadelphia since late September had swelled the wood. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Yes, the book just kept going on. It was well written, but uninteresting. I stuck with it up to the bittersweet ending and was left disappointed. It seemed to me like i was watching somebody's uninteresting life. Like I whipped out my binoculars and looked at the window and just watched all the boring people for about 10 years. There were some nice little parts and the ending was satisfying in the grand scheme of it all and it would no doubt be a Lesbian classic had it been written in the 1950's or something. But in this time, its just monotonous. The love story was barely existent and was really just a buddy book about two outcasts, a lesbian who wants the other to be lesbian and a straight girl who everyone thinks is a lesbian. Yes, she does end up going that way, but only after many years of befriending the other woman. You get the distinct impression the young straight girl truly loved her friend and needed her...just not that way. And in the end, out of love, she gave her friend what she'd been wanting all along.
Now, i could be completely off the mark, I am a straight male. Just my opinion.
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Format: Paperback
This is a historical tale of domestic violence, hatred, intolerance, ignorance, survival and love in the 1870s. Essentially "chased" from Philadelphia after a mysterious incident with a female student which is not explained to the reader until much later in the book, teacher Imogene Grezlnick moves to a small farming town in rural Pennsylvania to take up a teaching position there. She befriends one of her oldest students, Sarah, who takes a liking to her new teacher. Their relationship blossoms, even more so as Sarah struggles to survive her marriage with her abusive husband, Sam. Eventually, Imogene's past catches up her and Sarah becomes inadvertently involved, so the two women are forced to leave Pennsylvania. They move to Reno, Nevada, and later still, to a stage stop in the desert, Round Hole. The often bizarre relationship between the strong-willed, strong-spirited Imogene and the exceedingly weak, frail and shy Sarah (often annoyingly delicate and feeble to the point of pure exasperation) develops slowly throughout the novel, ending in a rather unconvincing partnership.
It took too long for the story to get going, but once it did, it moved right along and kept my attention. During the time in Caliope and Reno, the story was pretty good and well-written, containing all the best elements of an adventurous life in the West. But after the girls moved out to Round Hole, it started going downhill, all the way to the terrible ending, which was swift and abrupt and lame. The charade that they try to maintain throughout the last third of the book is completely unbelievable and more than a little ridiculous. I thought it was a very poor way to get the two women out of a difficult situation and it just didn't work at all. Still, except for the last part of the book and the unconvincing relationship that develops between the two friends, I thought this was a pretty good story.
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By A Customer on May 22 2000
Format: Paperback
Wow! This book was a continual surprise for me. It's really good on so many levels: well-written, great character development, beautifully crafted scenery, and a tricky plot.
Two women move west to escape persecution from their lifestyle. Unfortunately when they first move, they haven't actually done anything, but the one woman becomes entangled in the other's affairs. Though this is a novel about the love two women have for eachother the sexual feelings are secondary to simple, mutual caring.
Intrigued by the life these women "lived," I several times read the book into the wee hours of morning. It was quite a wonderful journey. I do have one criticism, which is that the end of the book was confusing. I don't want to give anything away, but what the women did to keep the ranch was one thing, the fact that the "person" changed names in the narrative was (to me at least) cumbersome reading.
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Format: Paperback
Unlike mystery writer Nevada Barr's other novels, her first novel Bittersweet is a historic novel set in the 1870s United States.
I fell in love with the two heroines, Imogene, a teacher, and Sarah, her student, who ends up in a loveless and brutal marriage. They love each other and are persecuted by narrow-minded people who claim their love is unnatural and sinful. This hostility forces them to bond together, to hide their true feelings, and to move from place to place. The author does a great job of presenting this relationship in the context of the 19th Century, and yet provides a deeper look into the daily lives of these women than would be possible from historic sources of the time.
Truly an inspiring story of the power of love and the strength that comes from a loving relationship.
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By A Customer on Jan. 23 2001
Format: Paperback
This was a great portrayal of two women who struggled to make a life together during a very difficult time period. The plot was riveting and kept my interest. The characters were not portrayed as stereotypical lesbians, which was a nice change from other novels that I have read. This is a definite change of pace from the Anna Pigeon mysteries I have become used to reading by this author. Sarah and Imogene were great characters. I only have one criticism. Toward the end of the novel, I was flipping to see if I had read something wrong, due to the author's use of pronouns and the name switch that occurred. Overall a great depiction of two women who knew their own strength and used it to their advantage! The scenery was vividly described and the characters well-read.
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