Mabel Dagmar is a scholarship student at an East Coast college and her roomate Genevra “Ev” Winslow is her wealthy roommate who invites her to spend the summer in Vermont. There are several cottages on the Winslow estate and Mabel stays in the cottage, Bittersweet, that Ev has been given.
The summer starts idyllic with elegant parties, swimming, and lazy days of wandering on the grounds. Soon, Mabel starts to see cracks in what seems like a fairy-tale. An eccentric aunt in the family asks Mabel for help in uncovering secrets in the esteemed Winslow family, and directs her to papers and a journal to investigate.
During her time there, Mabel gets involved in an unexpected romance and can see herself settling into living the high life. But gradually with the discoveries she makes, she sees that while on the outside the Winslow family appears picture perfect, on the inside there are dark secrets and violence in the Winslow past.
The book can be slow at times but was enjoyable with beautiful prose and wonderful descriptions of the characters and the setting in Vermont. Bittersweet is a good mix of mystery and romance.