Dalhousie Road is a secluded spot in the interior of Nova Scotia, a place where folks generally keep to themselves, aside from a few curious neighbours who watch the goings-on from afar. It’s a place where the fields go unchecked and the woods hold a certain mystical charm to those who are able to hear the voices of the past whispering softly in the breeze. And it’s the place where Pru Burbidge and her family, after much roving and restlessness, finally make themselves a home.But they are barely settled in before Pru’s father takes off, leaving Pru’s mother alone to care for the family in the time-worn farmhouse they call home. Not long after, Pru’s mother takes ill. Knowing she doesn’t have much time left, she begins to teach Pru and her older brother, Jesse, all the things they’ll need to know to care for themselves and their younger siblings once she’s gone. After their mother dies, Pru and Jesse do everything they can to hide the fact that they’re on their own so that they and their brother and sister aren’t separated and sent away. But when suspicions are raised, Pru and Jesse are forced to take desperate—sometimes drastic- measures to keep the family from being torn apart.
“Best has done an amazing job crafting this novel… [Bitter, Sweet] is a real treat of a read and is highly recommended.” — CM Magazine
“Pru’s voice is clear and true, and Best captures a sense of time and place in this beautifully wrought tale.” — Atlantic Books Today
Canadian Children’s Book News – September 1, 2010
“Author Laura Best brings alive her characters with deft scenarios and interesting dialogue. This book is well written and provides a glimpse of post-war 1940s community life and social services.”
“This engaging and thought-provoking tale is a great literary time capsule that offers a slice of history from a less familiar part of Canada.” — Canadian Family Magazine
“Memorable, haunting and truly a strong piece of writing — I recommend it highly.” — Steve Vernon, author of Wicked Woods
Article written by Sara Keddy, Kings County Register, October 2009
Article by Robert Hirtle, Bridgewater Bulliten
Bitter, Sweet has been shortlisted for The Geoffery Bilson Award For Historical Fiction For Young People.
The judges said Bitter, Sweet is “A beautifully crafted novel set in 1948 in Nova Scotia told by Pru, a young girl trying to keep her siblings together after their father abandons them and their mother dies… Best has masterfully created a sense of time and place..The Characters are thoughtfully developed and their relationships to each other skillfully described.”