Bitter Orange
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Bitter Orange

3.76 (1,116 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'A compulsive page-turner. Fuller creates an atmosphere of simmering menace with all the assurance of a latter-day Daphne du Maurier' The Times

From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them - Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden for the absent American owner. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours' private lives.

To Frances' surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to spend time with her. It is the first occasion that 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 till 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 of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.

'An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece' Kirkus

'Bewitching, otherworldly . . . full of dark foreboding. Claire Fuller is a dazzling storyteller' Scotsman

'It is rare for me to put down a novel and then immediately consider rereading it to see what cleverness I might have missed. This time, though, I am tempted' Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 144 x 222 x 29mm | 407g
  • Fig Tree
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0241341825
  • 9780241341827
  • 24,879

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Review quote

Beautifully written, with echoes of Barbara Vine and Daphne du Maurier * Andrew Taylor, Spectator Books of the Year 2018 * Elegant, atmospheric, vivid * The Big Issue * Cannily releasing clues on the way to an explosive finale . . . The lush setting and remarkable characters make for an immersive mystery * Publishers Weekly * Full of dark foreboding. Claire Fuller is a dazzling storyteller * Belfast Telegraph * With shades of Brideshead and Manderley, Claire Fuller's atmospheric third novel plays a satisfyingly unpredictable game with reader expectations. Prepare to be meticulously unsettled and horribly enthralled * Country Life * Naturally engaging and elegantly written. Fuller is an amply gifted storyteller * Spectator * Loneliness, guilt and atonement are at the heart of the atmospheric Bitter Orange * Good Housekeeping * Full of complex characters and narrative richness * The Sunday Times Culture * Atmospheric. Rich, clever and very readable. * Amanda Craig, Telegraph * Beautiful and sinister with a gothic thriller feel * Prima * A smart creation from a skilled writer: a heady psychological novel that builds its layers carefully to allow gradual revelations and stomach-churning surprises * Financial Times * Multi-layered, lush, twisty and brilliantly clever * The Sunday Mirror * Fuller is a master at summoning the atmosphere of a heady, hot summer that thrums with tension * Stylist * An exquisite and skilfully written novel, which worms its way under your skin while Frances's loneliness seeps off every page * Red * Dark, beautifully written. It reminds me very much of Ian McEwan's Atonement, with similar slow-build tension and claustrophobic atmosphere * The Pool * A rich, dark pressure cooker of a novel that simmers with slow heat and suppressed tension * Ruth Ware * A compulsive page-turner. Fuller creates an atmosphere of simmering menace with all the assurance of a latter-day Daphne du Maurier * The Times * This darkly smouldering, desperately sad, superior psychological thriller contains shades of Zoe Heller's Notes On A Scandal * Daily Mail * It is rare for me to put down a novel and then immediately consider rereading it to see what cleverness I might have missed. This time, though, I am tempted. * Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times * Bewitching, otherworldly . . . full of dark foreboding. Claire Fuller is a dazzling storyteller. * Scotsman * Sinister and suspenseful, this gothic novel simmers with guilt, lust and envy * Mail on Sunday * A sinister story that considers the terrifying lengths people will go to escape their pasts. In the vein of Shirley Jackson's bone-chilling The Haunting of Hill House, Fuller's disturbing novel will entrap readers in its twisty narrative, leaving them to reckon with what is real and what is unreal. An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece. * Kirkus * A rich and hypnotic read * Tatler * Heady, claustrophobic . . . makes for perfect heatwave reading. Echoes Penelope Lively's Booker-winning Moon Tiger, Anita Brookner's Look At Me, and Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger * Independent * Bitter Orange reads like an assured, old-school, du Maurieresque classic. It's an atmospheric page-turner that speeds us towards a bloody climax of shocks and surprises * Irish Times * As haunting as tuberose and delicate as a scalpel * Laline Paull * A twisty, thorny, darkly atmospheric page turner about loneliness and belonging * Gabriel Tallent, author of My Absolute Darling * A delicate and disturbing read, alive with love, lust, envy and guilt * S Magazine * A stealthy shocker about thwarted desire. A sinister, slow-burn tale that saves its most heart-wrenching revelation for last * Metro * Reminds me of JL Carr's A Month in the Country, Daphne Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, and Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Incredibly atmospheric, vivid, and intriguing. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't reading a forgotten classic. * Emma Healey * Rich and compelling. Fuller is an accomplished writer * Observer *
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About Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1967. She gained a degree in sculpture from Winchester School of Art, but went on to have a long career in marketing and didn't start writing until she was forty. Bitter Orange is her third novel. Her first novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, won the Desmond Elliott Prize. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children.
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Rating details

1,116 ratings
3.76 out of 5 stars
5 23% (253)
4 41% (455)
3 29% (322)
2 6% (70)
1 1% (16)
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