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Bitter and Sweet: A Novel
Rhonda McKnight


A cryptic message from their grandmother reunites two estranged sisters at the site of the family’s eighty-six-year-old restaurant. Two sisters at a crossroad in life find the answers to their problems in the lessons from the past…

Mariah never pretended her marriage was perfect but that didn’t mean she ever suspected her husband of ten years would not only ask for a divorce but steal the business she built for them. Defeated and depressed, she’s not sure how to bounce back from the manipulative betrayal. Sabrina has been self-destructing for years, maybe since she was born, but certainly since the death of her long-time boyfriend. Barely scraping by and living in her van, she’s struggling to figure out what’s next for her, when all she’s ever wanted to do is bake cakes like her mother did.

When Mariah and Sabrina’s grandmother sends them a cryptic text message summoning them to Georgetown, South Carolina, both assume their ailing grandfather’s health has declined. Instead, the estranged sisters are faced with their grandmother’s undeniable request—save the family’s eighty-six-year-old restaurant. Through letters written by their great-great-grandmother, Tabitha, Mariah and Sabrina learn a heartbreaking yet powerful story of struggle and survival. As the whole truth about Tabitha’s complicated past unfolds, the sisters are inspired by her ability to forge her own way in Charleston, a beautiful and prosperous city that was also rife with oppression under Jim Crow.

With the lessons in their family’s past guiding them, both sisters have a chance at a different life—if they can find a way to bridge the gap that tragedy and unhealed trauma forced between them. Told in a dual timeline that alternates between the 1920s and present-day Charleston, SC, Bitter and Sweet is an emotional story about love, one family’s perseverance, and the bonds of family and heritage.


Rhonda McKnight is the author of 27 books. The Thing About Home is her latest release. She has also written several award-winning bestsellers, including An Inconvenient Friend. She is the winner of the 2015 Emma Award for Inspirational Romance of the Year for her title, Unbreak My Heart. She has been nominated thrice for the African American Literary Award. She writes inspirational book club fiction and Christian romance stories about complex characters in crisis. Her goal is to touch the heart of women with the themes of faith, forgiveness, and hope. Originally from a small coastal town in New Jersey, she writes from the comfort of her South Carolina home.


"A complex but joyful tale of family, food, love, and restaurants, BITTER AND SWEET by Rhonda McKnight tells a poignant story of sisterhood, motherhood, and new love found in old places. McKnight's writing is as delectable as the Gullah cuisine at the heart of the novel, but the beautifully written characters, prose, and dialogue make this story memorable. Bitter and Sweet by Rhonda McKnight is women's fiction at its best and a must-read journey you won't forget." -- Bestselling author of The Other Princess and Wild, Denny S. Bryce

"Bitter and Sweet is a delicious layered cake of a story that's compulsively readable. The history woven through the story enhanced the flavors of the low country cooking sprinkled through the pages, and I could smell the she-crab soup and taste the desserts. McKnight is a master storyteller, and I can't get enough of her books! Don't miss this one!" -- USA Today bestselling author, Colleen Coble

[P]  Thomas Nelson  /  June 11, 2024

1.0" H x 8.4" L x 5.5" W (0.7 lbs) 384 pages