Bitter, Sweet

Bitter, Sweet

Available at bookstores across Canada and for order at:

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 in the Nimbus Fall 2009 Catalogue

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.”

Leave a comment


  1. Carol Ann Hoel

     /  August 21, 2010

    I may invest in a copy of Bitter, Sweet. I intend to look for it on I live in Dallas, Texas, USA. I know little if anything about Nova Scotia. What a great way for me to learn something about the people of Canada.


    • “Bitter, Sweet” is indeed on It was released in March of this year. The story is young adult but many adults have read it (I’m sure more than kids, actually) and I’ve received some wonderful comments.

      It’s nice to meet another reader out there, one from so far away from Nova Scotia. We live in a remarkable world, don’t we Carol Ann?


      • Alexus Cook

         /  January 5, 2011

        WOW , I love your book Bitter, Sweet! Its taught me to help out my family and be strong to. Im 16 and I liked it so much I read that wwhole book in 1 week because I could not put it down. Well I just wanted to say hi and let you know you’ve done a fantastic job on this book.


        • Dear Alexis, Thank you so much for your lovely comment! Notes like that always make a writer’s day. I am so glad the book had a positive impact on you.The bond that holds families together is as strong as the people in that family… Keep reading! And once again, thank you for making my day! Laura


  2. Yes, we do. I reviewed BITTER, SWEET on The Saucy Scrivener’s blog:
    If you have trouble finding it, I will copy it for you. I hope I did your excellent story justice. I tried. 🙂


  3. I included a link to your blog.


    • Carol Ann, this was such a nice thing for you to do! I read the review and was very touched. Thank you so much. This is greatly appreciated. 🙂


  4. Carol Ann Hoel

     /  September 10, 2010

    You are welcome, Laura. You wrote a good novel.



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