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Bittersweet

Bittersweet

A Novel

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In her first epic romantic novel since The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCullough weaves a sweeping story of two sets of twins—all trained as nurses, but each with her own ambitions—stepping into womanhood in 1920s and 30s Australia.

Because they are two sets of twins, the four Latimer sisters are as close as can be. Yet these vivacious young women each have their own dreams for themselves: Edda wants to be a doctor, Tufts wants to organize everything, Grace won’t be told what to do, 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, they are not enthusiastic about the limited prospects life holds for them.

Together they decide to enroll in a training program for nurses—a new option for women of their time, who have previously been largely limited to the role of wives, and preferably mothers. As the Latimer sisters become immersed in hospital life and the demands of their training, they meet people and encounter challenges that spark new maturity and independence. They meet men from all walks of life—local farmers, their professional colleagues, and even men with national roles and reputations—and each sister must make weighty decisions about what she values most. The results are sometimes happy, sometimes heartbreaking, but always . . . bittersweet.

Rendered with McCullough’s trademark historical accuracy, this dramatic coming of age tale is wise in the ways of the human heart, one that will transport readers to a time in history that feels at once exotic and yet not so very distant from our own.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 384 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476755410 | 
  • August 2014
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Bittersweet
Edda and Grace, Tufts and Kitty. Two sets of twins, the daughters of the Reverend Thomas Latimer, Rector of St. Mark’s Church of England in the Shire & City of Corunda, New South Wales.

They were sitting on four slender chairs in front of the vast maw of the fireplace, where no fire burned. The very large drawing room was filled with chattering women invited by the Rector’s wife, Maude, to celebrate the event looming in less than a week: the Rector’s four daughters were quitting the Rectory to commence training as... see more

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