Have you ever wondered where nursery rhymes or fairytales come from?? I think everyone does. Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth tells us about the fairytale of Rapunzel. I know I learned this as a young child. The book tells the story of three women, Charlotte-Rose de la Force who is cousin of the Sun King, trying to find a man to marry her but without money that is pretty slim, She is a novelist and poet and her best-known work was her 1698 fairy tale Persinette, which became Rapunzel. She displeases the King and is banished from court, sent to a Benedictine Abbey where she is befriended by a nun who tells her the story of a girl, Margherita, who is sold by her parents to a woman named Selena because her Margherita's father steals some bitter greens out of Selena's garden. Selena puts her in a doorless tower where the only way for the witch to get out is to have Margherita let her hair down the window. Margherita desperately wants to get out of the tower but she is afraid. Selena's spell is powerful and Margherita feels she will never leave the tower, until her singing brings a young man to the tower.
In a way the story line seems convoluted but as you get further into the book the reader understands how all three women are connected. A beautifully written novel about the court of France, scheming men and women, black arts, witches spells and ultimately about love. An awesome historical novel of which the likes I have never read. Interesting telling of a fairytale about a real woman in 1700's France. I highly recommend this book.