Kathleen D. (New Hampshire)
Thirs book strengthens Bess Crawford series
This is the third installment in the Bess Crawford mysteries by the writing team of Charles Todd. I very much enjoy the time period so realistically portrayed in this series. The authors successfully transport and immerse us in this engrossing place in history! Bess becomes more endearing with each book. However, I felt they were truly finding their way in the first two books---particularly in "An Impartial Witness", where the plot seemed to go in circles half way through the book.
In "A Bitter Truth", the plotting of the story seems much stronger. I found the story and characters quite interesting and generally enjoyed the book. I feel compelled to mention two weaknesses---the circumstances surrounding a NEW major suspect is not revealed until p. 306 (a little unfair to the reader); and I had a bit of a let down with the conclusion---I strongly believe there were more interesting (and complex) possibilities available with the story and characters in this novel!
This series should interest fans of Jacqueline Winspear (and perhaps Barbara Cleverly) since these series deal with the fascinating time period of WWI and the years following.
I do feel this is an interesting choice for a book club.
Charlene M. (Murrells Inlet, SC)
A Bitter Truth
From the first page the mother/son writing team of Charles Todd had me hooked. The opening setting of 1917 London during the war could have been rather dull. The author created a recipe of intrigue, history, a believable muse-heroine, a damsel in distress, two handsome heroes, a not so likeable anti-hero, and a good Mystery. I definitely will read more of the Bess Crawford series and look forward to reading the Ian Rutledge mysteries too. I wait impatiently for the next installment. Rated E for excellent.
Anat S. (Sharon, MA)
Page turner murder mystery
Set at the time of WWI in Britain with a nursing sister as a hero, this is a fast pace, page turner murder mystery written in the "Agatha Christie" style where everyone has a motive for murder and the end is unexpected. It is well written and entertaining.
Barbara E. (rockville, MD)
A Bitter Truth
A Bitter Truth is another wonderful entry in the Bess Crawford series by Charles Todd. This mother-son writing team is strong on character development and have given the reader some fantastic characters to watch grow and change throughout this satisfying mystery. Some of the characters begin as sympathetic and then become irritating and childish; some are brave; some are stubborn and arrogant; some are threatening and cruel and become sympathetic over the course of the story. There are enough red herrings and a very satisfying conclusion to the central puzzle to satisfy any mystery lover. The introduction of Sergeant Larimore, who is as resourceful as Bess and totally charming if impulsive, brings hope that this strong heroine may find a worthy love interest. Modern concerns about sexual scandal, the right to die with dignity and the problems of readjustment to civilian life make this book quite topical although it is set during the horror of the First World War.
I highly recommend this book and the others in the series for anyone who enjoys a ripping good yarn, thoughtful characters, moral dilemmas and fine writing.
Barbara C. (Riverside, CA)
This book was as grabber at the beginning, but it fizzled with too many tendrils of plot and an ending that left me scratching my head. However, that said, I love Bess and want her to have a life. The two first books about Bess were better because she was more relevant to the plot and plot line. Too many coincidences here.
Mary M. (Beverly Hills, FL)
Held my attention
This book has an intricate plot, full of twists and turns and kept me reading, even though some of the plot twists are improbable at best. Several of the characters are three-dimensional, though Bess herself is not so much, and why she, and another character interject themselves so thoroughly into the lives of strangers is a question. The book does convey a good sense of wartime Europe, with all its the tragedies and upheavals.
Dorothy M. (Owatonna, MN)
A Bitter Truth
Once again the authors of the Charles Todd books have a winner. In this third book of the Bess Crawford series, Bess finds herself helping a woman in need. This, however, leads her into a complicated family situation that becomes worse when murder happens. What makes this series so interesting is the WWI setting and how it affects various characters. From England to the battlefields of France the story unfolds. The variety of strongly developed characters and intricate plot makes this novel one of the best in the series of Todd books. How a mother and son who live in different states can keep coming up with such fascinating books is a "mystery" to me.