Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Book - 2018
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"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"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: Portland, Oregon : Tin House Books, 2018.
Edition: First US edition.
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9781947793156
Characteristics: 317 pages ; 23 cm


From Library Staff

As elderly Frances lays on her deathbed, an unnamed vicar seems to be eliciting a confession from her. She recalls the summer of 1969, when, on the cusp of turning forty and after burying her overbearing mother, she takes residence in a dilapidated English country home, working to catalog the gar... Read More »

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Dec 04, 2018

This was so good! The writing was spot on. It's not a happy book so if that's what you like I would steer clear of this book. But if you enjoy really well written stories with interesting complex characters (including an old rundown house) then try this book. I previously read "Swimming Lessons" from Claire Fuller. That book was good but I feel like she's really grown as a writer and this is the proof of that. One of my top reads of 2018!

Nov 28, 2018

As a reader, you'll know the all-too-rare frisson of pleasure that overcomes you when you open a book and almost immediately feel the atmosphere begin to seep inside you. You'll know the joy a reader feels when the character's voice speaks out so clearly that they seem to have sprung immediately to life in your head. These are the trademarks of the master storyteller and Claire Fuller is one of their guild, hooking the reader on page one and reeling her in bit by masterful bit with each succeeding chapter.

In short, I loved this Gothic treasure of a novel and read it in one long sitting. Someday, probably not too far into the future, I'll look forward to reading it once more. That's the kind of story it is.

Recommended for fans of "Rebecca" or early Barbara Vine.

Nov 08, 2018

The narrator, Frances, conceivably takes us from a time where she was caretaker of her dying mother to her summer job at an old estate. Here she meets and lives with Cara and Peter who have a questionable relationship with mystery and intrigue. There's a peephole in the floor to the bathroom below, Victor the vicar, strange finding of the past contents of the mansion, and the ensuing behaviours and interactions that take place. Some occurrences are left to the reader to decide but that often is what compels a good mystery. I felt the pace and careful reveal of information was akin to an obstacle course that eventually led us to an interesting end. Well told story.

Oct 26, 2018

There’s a line in the book that sums up it’s traverse well, “The feeling of everything being too late, pointless and wasted.” If you’re looking for a happy ending skip Bitter Orange; this book for me was too sad and depressing and left too many questions unanswered. If you love tragic, haunting characters and decaying mansions, read on.


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