I received a complimentary copy of BITTER ORANGE by Claire Fuller from Tin House and I was absolutely over the moon. I had seen this beautiful cover all over Instagram, but when I read the synopsis I knew I had to read this novel.
This is my first novel by Claire Fuller.
Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller
Overview – Spoiler Alert: Low
From the attic of Lyntons, a dilapidated English country mansion, Frances Jellico sees them―Cara first: dark and beautiful, then Peter: striking and serious. The couple is spending the summer of 1969 in the rooms below hers while Frances is researching the architecture in the surrounding gardens. But she’s distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she finds a peephole that gives her access to her neighbors’ private lives.
To Frances’ surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to get to know her. It is the first occasion she has had anybody to call a friend, and before long they are spending every day together: eating lavish dinners, drinking bottle after bottle of wine, and smoking cigarettes until the ash piles up on the crumbling furniture. Frances is dazzled.
But as the hot summer rolls lazily on, it becomes clear that not everything is right between Cara and Peter. The stories that Cara tells don’t quite add up, and as Frances becomes increasingly entangled in the lives of the glamorous, hedonistic couple, the boundaries between truth and lies, right and wrong, begin to blur. Amid the decadence, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand their lives forever.
-Synopsis taken from the book.
Review – Spoiler Alert: Low
BITTER ORANGE is a gothic novel that reads like a classic. I read Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier a week prior to this novel and I felt the similarities – A novel revolving around an old house, creepy atmosphere, with dynamic characters in play.
Set in 1969 at a dilapidated English country mansion during the summer. Bitter Orange is about a woman initially seeking purpose, and finding herself along the way. The setting Fuller creates is what makes the novel both intriguing and eery.
This novel is suspenseful, carefully paced, and unfolds a story that is simple, full of depth, yet complex in its telling.
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Have you read BITTER ORANGE? Is it on your TBR?
Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comments below.