bitter orange review.

But the world is a nicer place when you think everyone is telling the truth. There are no agendas, no hidden motives; no one lies for dramatic effect.

As Frances Jellico lay on her deathbed, she is often visited by an old friend, a vicar, who gently, but urgently, coaxes her into relaying back to him what really happened in the year 1969. This is the year Frances was hired to do research at Lyntons, a once grand estate in Hampshire, which now lies in ruins. Frances is staying on the estate with a couple named Peter and Cara, who are also doing research work. 

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

As the three of them settle in together, Frances, who has spent the bulk of her adult life caring for her mother, is suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of being friends with the Cara and Peter. Cara spins stories to Frances of how she and Peter met, and the complicated route they took which eventually landed them at the dilapidated estate. She also shares with Frances the tragic events in her life which have left her feeling fragile and unstable. But her tales are often fantastical, and Peter tries to bring sensibility her outlandish claims, leaving Frances unsure of who or what to believe.

This book took me some time to really invest in, but once I did, I was blown away. The story is beautiful with an underlying feeling of something has gone terribly wrong. Not quite horror, but more a horror-ish mystery. Claire Fuller drew me in with her stunning prose. The story initially unfolds far too slow, but then picks up speed and left me racing through the pages.

I loved the metaphors, the history, the mild supernatural suggestions, and that shocking conclusion to finish it off. Fuller captivated me with this one.

Now I am a woman of bone and skin, the patches of pigmentation like a map of a rocky archipelago; I am obdurate and uncooperative, drifting on a sea of memory between islands of lucidity.

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