Claire Fuller • Tin House Books • October 9, 2018 • 320 Pages
The book opens with Frances Jellico seemingly on her deathbed. She can’t remember much anymore, but she can remember Cara. And Peter. Thank goodness her memory has preserved them, her two passionate and eccentric downstairs neighbors from forever ago. They never knew it, but for many months Frances had a direct sightline into their apartment, watching and listening to them talk, laugh, fight, and, yes, make up. The three of them eventually even became friends for a while, and those months were, without question, the best in Frances’s life. Now all Frances wants to do is remember each perfect moment she spent with the two of them—before everything fell apart.
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Well, this book was nothing that I expected it to be. It’s a captivating story for sure, but more of a mystery, with bits and pieces of information revealed over time by the unreliable narrator, Frances. The novel grabbed my attention immediately, and I was flipping through pages like a madwoman, desperate to know what was going to happen next.
The character development in Bitter Orange isn’t mind blowing, but Cara and Peter are an interesting couple to watch, especially through the eyes of Frances. And Frances, good grief, what a delightful piece of work. She’s creepy and endearing at the same time, very The Talented Mr. Ripley. I love when characters surprise me, and she did not disappoint, yikes. The overall storyline is the same way: unpredictable and exciting. Plus, the ending is fantastic.
I wouldn’t normally pick up a book like this, but I’m so glad I did. What a fun, kinda dark, but super creative and entertaining read.
Thanks to Tin House Books and Amazon Vine for the Advanced Reader Copy!