Bitter and Sweet

A Novel

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Pub Date 11 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 11 Jul 2024

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From the beloved author of The Thing About Home comes a dual timeline tale of family, grief, secrets, and the sweet redemption that lies within the bonds of sisterhood.

-The Present-

When summoned to Georgetown, South Carolina, sisters Mariah Clark and Sabrina Holland both assume their ailing grandfather's health has gotten worse. Neither expects their grandmother's undeniable request--save the family restaurant.

Mariah is at a crossroad in her life. After being dumped by her husband and forced to walk away from their diner that she helped rescue from bankruptcy, bitter feelings consume her. Even though the restaurant has been in the family for eighty-six years, giving her all to another struggling business isn't something she wants to do.

Living out of her van and striving for a fresh start, Sabrina yearns for stability for herself and her daughter and a chance to turn her baking hustle into a bona-fide business. The family restaurant may be just the blessing she needs--but as old tensions and angry disagreements resurface, Sabrina wonders if her sister will let her have a say.

-The Past-

After falling victim to a love she thought would last a lifetime, Tabitha Cooper finds herself away from home and struggling to survive in Charleston in the early twentieth century. She is determined to turn corn into cornbread and to take care of her children the best way she knows how--by serving food that's good for the soul--and along the way forges a path that leaves a legacy of success for generations to come.

Through letters that reveal Tabitha's complicated past, the sisters discover truths that just might be the right recipe to mend their hearts--if they can find a way to savor the blessing of today and leave the bitter aftertaste of old memories behind them.

From the beloved author of The Thing About Home comes a dual timeline tale of family, grief, secrets, and the sweet redemption that lies within the bonds of sisterhood.

-The Present-

When summoned to...

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ISBN 9780840706577
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 37 members

Featured Reviews

BITTER AND SWEET by RHONDA McKNIGHT is a dual timeline novel, written in beautiful prose, that takes us through the joys and griefs of three generations of an African American family from Georgetown Carolina, starting with Tabitha Cooper in 1915, and ending with her great great granddaughters, Mariah and Sabrina in the present day, who have come to Georgetown at their grandmother’s request to restore Tabby’s Meats & Sweets to its former glory. The depth of the author’s character analysis is outstanding. I particularly like the way she expresses their strong and practical faith in God…..
A strong sense of the strength of family and other relationships, hard work, restoration, and unconditional love is mixed with that of grief, betrayal and hardship.
I cannot recommend Bitter and Sweet highly enough as a most enjoyable and inspirational read.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Thomas Nelson. The opinions in this review are completely my own.

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Wow, what a great book. We meet Tabitha who is the great, great grandmother of Sabrina and Mariah. We get to see these 3 women’s stories and how they intertwine. Mariah and Sabrina are estranged sisters who are back home to help their grandparents as they navigate their broken relationship. We learn about their resilience as well as their relative, Tabitha as she navigates life as a single Mom. There were so many layers in this story regarding betrayal, forgiveness, strength, sorrow and joy. This was simply a wonderful book full of black history. Can’t wait to read more by this author.

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Thank you NetGalley & Thomas Nelson Fiction for the ARC; I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This review is also posted on Goodreads.

The title says it all: bitter and sweet. I would also add beautiful and redemptive when describing this book. McKnight crafts a beautiful story that expands over generations and connects sisters in present day.

When their grandfather has a stroke, Mariah and Sabrina's grandmother calls them home with one task: save the family restaurant. Tabby's Meats and Sweets, named after their great-great grandmother, has been passed down over generations of the family matriarchs. Their grandmother is determined to not let it close for good after nearly nine decades of operation.

Mariah is at a crossroads in her life. Her husband has left her, her dream work project has vanished, and she's bitter. Sabrina is living out of her van, grieving the loss of her partner while raising their child, and is trying to find positives in every day life. Both sisters are adamant in the fact that they will never be close. They fail to notice one thing they have in common: they're both looking to hurting and need to heal.

Their grandmother is keenly aware that her granddaughters desperately need healing and reassurance that all will be okay. She encourages the girls to read their great-great grandmother Tabitha's letters from the early 1900's. Readers are immersed into a split timeline where we receive Tabitha's story first hand, feeling the same impact of her experience as Mariah and Sabrina do in present day.

I instantly fell in love with the setting, the focus of the restaurant, and the Gullah traditions. I could practically smell the food as it was described. I felt like I was right there with everyone in Tabby's kitchen. I loved each and every character and grew attached. I was transported into the this family's story, and I was so sad to leave it when I finished reading. But that's the magic of books - I can always go back, and I definitely plan to visit.

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Three women, all stronger than they realize. Sabrina and Mariah, sisters who have been at odds for years are now thrown together to try and save their great grandmother’s legacy. A legacy that was founded by hard work and determination. Tabitha who was left with children and nothing much else except her love for cooking. Cooking her much loved Gullah Geeche soul food and wonderful sweets. Her granddaughters have that same passion, they just have to find it. After they discover that family is everything. Wonderful boo. Rhonda McKnight is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers. After reading The Thing About Home I couldn’t wait to read this one. Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance. Five wonderful stars.

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Rhonda McKnight has written an amazing dual timeline (which I loved) story of sorrow and joy, She masterfully weaves a tale between a great great Grandmother and her descendants Mariah and Sabrina. The result is a beautiful tapestry that shows us life is Bitter and Sweet. Mariah and Sabrina, sisters, learn through the trials and triumphs of their ancestor, that they have within themselves the strength to bring healing, restoration and victory. Fellow readers you will not be disappointed. I cannot wait to introduce my bookclubs to this great book, Bitter and Sweet.

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The author did an amazing job with writing this book. It was so intriguing how she brought two timelines together in one book. Two sisters who are dealing with their own issues are asked to come home to help preserve the family restaurant while their grandmother tends to their grandfather who had a stroke. The girls read letters from their great-great-grandmother and it showed the importance of how much the family restaurant meant to her and now they are faced with similar challenges.

The author has done an amazing job with the character development. You connect with them and you can feel what they are going through with their issues. This book will have you smiling and crying. I think it is also important to note that the author has brought out how it is okay to seek therapy when life gets too much to handle. I look forward to reading more books by this author.

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Bitter and Sweet by Rhonda McKnight is a well written novels that speaks a captivating tale of love, loss, and redemption. The authors ability to mesh family drama, healing, secrets and history left me emotionally satisfied. The character development is phenomenal and keeps you engaged from beginning to the end.

The power of forgiveness is a beautiful thing! I love how this books touches on lessons that touch on resilience and also knowing when to let go.

Rhonda McKnight left no crumbs, and as always has you satisfied yet wanting more.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own

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I really enjoyed this book and think that it was very well written. This is the first book by this author that I’ve read. The struggles of this family is very relatable for a lot of people.

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Rhonda McKnight continues to prove why she should be on everyone’s “go to author” list. Butter and Sweet is such a great story about two sisters struggles with marriage, life, disappointments, grief/loss, self-discovery, forgiveness and healing. Mariah and Sabrina’s story was so well written. I truly recommend this for anyone who likes a story that will make you feel every emotion.

Thank you NetGalley, the author and publisher for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. The opinions expressed are all my own.

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Bitter and Sweet by Rhonda McKnight was everything I hoped it would be and more. I read her novel, The Thing About Home, last year and loved it! Like, loved it, loved it. Though it seemed unfathomable to me when I picked up Bitter and Sweet that I could love it as much as The Thing About Home, I did!

Bitter and Sweet is a dual timeline novel with three narrators: sisters Mariah and Sabrina and their great-great grandmother, Tabitha. Have tissues with you when you read! It will break your heart, but it’ll make you cry tears of joy too. Mariah and Sabrina don’t have a good relationship, but when their grandmother texts them to come home, they do. They both assume that their grandfather, who had a stroke, was worse and that their grandma needed them. She does need them. She needs them to save the restaurant that’s been in their family for almost 100 years. This forces them to work together; at least that’s the plan. From there…well, you have to read it!

Rhonda McKnight has written a novel that’s so moving and convicting and just breathtakingly beautiful. It’s about forgiveness: forgiving others and forgiving yourself. You know the old saying about holding onto grudges hurts you more than it hurts the other person…truth! Bitter and Sweet shows that it’s okay to not be okay; and it’s important to get help when you’re not okay. There is so much depth in this novel, and I wish I had the words to tell you just how much it moved me. I highly recommend this exceptional novel!

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

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This is my first book from Rhonda McKnight and definitely won’t be my last.
She captivated me right from the first chapter. I had such a hard time putting it down.
It’s a powerful story of family and the trials and tribulations that families endure.
A heartfelt story of how sometimes you need to talk and seek out help to get over the past to help you through.
Thank you NetGalley for the advance copy for my honest opinion

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Bitter and Sweet by Rhonda McKnight is a great and thorough read. It is the story of Sabrina and Mariah, two sisters who are completely different, yet have deep and hidden similarities. Along with their story, the story of their descendant, Tabitha is also a story of love, regret and second chances. Her story blends with Sabrina and Mariah who find out about Tabitha thanks to her letters kept by their grandmother. I only say so much because I want the readers to indulge in this beautifully written and informative. You won't regret getting a copy when it is released in June.

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Rhonda McKnight's latest novel is a true gem. From the very beginning, I was hooked and couldn't put it down. The characters were so well-developed that I felt like a part of their world, seeing bits of myself in each of them. McKnight's ability to evoke deep emotions in her readers is truly impressive, making this book a definite winner in my eyes. I found myself torn between wanting to know what happened next and not wanting the story to end (or at least follow Kenni into adulthood!). This book has earned a permanent spot on my list of favorites, and I can't wait to revisit it again in the future.

Thanks Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for providing the ARC and opportunity to provide an honest review.

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i received a complimentary copy of this book.......(thank you!!) and these opinions are completely my own..... so when you receive a free copy of a book, you never know what you are going to get! somethimes i struggle through a book and it takes me forever...however i finished this book in only a couple of days! i totally enjoyed it!! i usually love books that go back and forth through time...and this did not disappoint!! i loved the time changes and i loved the on going story of the relationship between sisters! the characters were well developed and interesting! i will put this author on follow and definately read another on of her books! thanks again for the advanced copy, it was a very good surprise!!

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This is certainly a well named book. There is much bittersweetness within its pages and very real depiction of life's sorrows, jolts and joys. Women made strong thereby get through with help from God, each other and therapy. Themes laced throughout touched on prejudice, forgiveness and reconcilation. There's cautionary input regarding the wiles and lure of some men but also of decent manhood.

I loved the two-pronged timelines of the main protagonists, two sisters who were the great-great granddaughters of Tabitha who struggled but overcame. The parallel-like lives of the two different generations is notable, endearing and helpful to the younger women. Despite the bitterness there were the lovely good, tender and sweet times which gave balance to the emotions as one read through the saga.

I also liked the down-home feel and the input about the Gullah people group, which lent further character to the book with its lingo, recipes and community way of life. I had never heard of the Gullah folks before so this was of interest to me.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and found it to be a good satisfying read.

A 5-Star rating from me.

~Eunice C. Reviewer/Blogger~

March 2024

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Net Galley and the publisher. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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A dual timeline novel, Bitter and Sweet follows the story of Tabitha in the early 1920s and her great-great-grandaughters, Mariah and Sabrina in present day. Tabitha's story of perseverance as an African American woman in a male and white dominated world is inspiring. Though she faced multiple trials, Tabitha never stops believing in herself and her capability to care for her children and those around her. We discover that she has written her story in letters and her legacy inspires Mariah and Sabrina to persevere through their own challenges. Never close the sisters are brought together to save their grandparents restaurant. As they each face trials of their own, they learn the importance of family and forgiveness. McKnight also weaves the story of each character's journey with faith throughout. A few of my favorite quotes include, "Tabitha decided she liked doing what was right. She always met Jesus there." and "Everybody is not Christian. Judging them for it won't get them to be." I appreciated each woman's journey towards bettering themselves and the lives of those around them. I didn't want to put this novel down!

Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson, I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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This book deals with family, grief, secrets, and the sweet redemption that lies within the bonds of sisterhood. Two head strong sisters return home to help with the family restaurant and Grandpa’s health issues. This book is a great read and very interesting. You will find yourself falling in love with all the characters and you will be vested in them. I definitely recommend this book for your summer reading.

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Forgive my grief. These are three of the most powerful words contained in this novel and they sum the story up for me. In Bitter and Sweet Rhonda McKnight has penned an awesome novel showing how great one’s life can be impacted by grief. Not all grief is due to death.

I loved this storyline and the characters. This book will cause you to examine your relationships. Perhaps it could be time to let go of some long standing bitterness you may be holding. It definitely serves as a wake up call for me.

I highly recommend this book. I would give it 10 stars if it was possible.

Thank you Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book.

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Bitter and Sweet tell us the story of two sisters, whose relationship is not close. At the same time, it tells the story of their grandmother, Tabitha, who struggled as a single parent in the early 1900’s, yet rose above obstacles in her way. It is a beautiful story of survival, forgiveness, and true love. It was great and. I loved it.. I will highly recommend it.

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Oh My Goodness. I LOVED this story. The care. The tenderness. The love. The way I felt for each and every character. McKnight writing is like a spring night on the porch after the rain, in your favorite rocking chair . It’s refreshing. It’s cool to the spirit. It’s the familiar motion that makes everything around you fall away. It’s like your beverage of choice that can either send a buzz clear through to your fingertips and toes. Or a cool drink that cleanses your palette and send a chill down your spine. Or it good be a hot cup of tea that you hold near that not only warm your hands but warms the soul. Rhonda McKnight is an auto buy author for me because I LIVE for all the feels she makes me feel 🙌🏾

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