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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Brooklyn Bitters by Sally Saylor De Smet follows Kate Hathaway, a sophisticated character as she faces some of the most challenging moments and situations in her life, a gorgeous treat for fans of stories filled with drama and strong female characters. Kate graduates with honors from Emory University and looks forward to an exciting career in publishing. When her brother-in-law dies in an accident, Kate lives with the guilt, blaming herself for his death, because she is the one who invited him to give her a ride. While her younger sister, Stacey, has moved on, this incident haunts Kate, because Glen Lloyd Hastings was also her best friend. Kate spends time helping her ailing mother and on a business trip to New York, she meets an attractive man who wins her heart, but is she ready to step out of her loneliness and what happens when he disappears?
This is a beautifully written story and one of the elements I enjoyed is the way the author explores the themes of love, family relationships, guilt, and loneliness. The family dynamics come out neatly in the narrative and I enjoyed the way the author handles the relationship between Kate and her pampered, domineering sister and their relationship to their ailing mother. The tension grows between the sisters and I was keen to see if Kate could live up to her role as an older sister to Stacey. The romance part of the novel is intelligently handled and nothing is rushed. Brooklyn Bitters is well-paced and deftly plotted with some twists and turns, and characters that are real and relatable.