Bitter Orange by Claire Fuller

1. First lines. 2. Publisher: Penguin
I liked this book.
Frances is naive and socially awkward, Cara is pretentious and moody, and Peter is handsome. What could possible go wrong?

In present-day London, Frances Jellico lies at the end of her life in a hospital bed. She tells her story in flashback to 1969 when she travelled to Hampshire to assess the grounds of Lynton House, acquired by an American. Also at the country house are Cara and Peter, who are assessing the inside of the house. Over a period of a month, Frances becomes beguiled with the couple. Cara’s stories about her past unsettle her, and she isn’t sure what to believe. Frances’s recollections in her final days reveal their fate.

“Best let hidden things remain hidden, I should have said. Sleeping dogs and all that. If I was then the woman I am now I would have shouted and stood between the sledgehammer and the door that day, when Peter opened the Museum.”

“Beautiful on the surface, but look a little closer and everything is decaying, rotting, falling apart.”

Quotes from the book.
  • Publishers Weekly: “Cannily releasing clues on the way to an explosive finale, Fuller moves fluidly between the time of the story and a period 20 years later, when Frances is lying in a hospital and close to death. The lush setting and remarkable characters make for an immersive mystery.”
  • Kirkus: “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.”
Other editions

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