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Bitter Orange
by Claire Fuller

Published: 2018-10-09
Hardcover : 320 pages
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10 clubs reading this now
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An NPR Best Book of the Year

A Most Anticipated Book at Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Elle, BUST, HuffPost, NYLON, Southern Living, Parade, and more

From the author of Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons, Bitter Orange is a seductive psychological portrait, a ...

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Introduction

An NPR Best Book of the Year

A Most Anticipated Book at Time Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, Vulture, Elle, BUST, HuffPost, NYLON, Southern Living, Parade, and more

From the author of Our Endless Numbered Days and Swimming Lessons, Bitter Orange is a seductive psychological portrait, a keyhole into the dangers of longing and how far a woman might go to escape her past.


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.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of October 2018:: As Frances Jellico lies in bed at the end of her life, she revisits the summer of 1969 when her existence was so different. That summer she had just buried her mother when she was hired to survey the gardens of an old, crumbling English country house. Moving into the house, Frances—a 39 year-old woman whose life in many ways had been smothered by her mother—discovers that a couple is living there as well. Cara and Peter are a glamorous duo, and soon Frances is invited into their life of lavish meals, booze, and cigarettes. It is like an awakening for Frances. But the author Claire Fuller has been weaving her story from the beginning—and as Frances begins to catch on that all is not as it seems, so does the reader. By the end, there will be lies, revelations, twists and turns—and crimes will be committed. Fuller is a master at drawing the lines between people, invisible and visible, and then pulling those lines like a puppeteer. --Chris Schluep, for the Amazon Book Review

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