Last week I was the lucky winner of an Instagram giveaway by author Claire Fuller, an American edition of her book Bitter Orange. This was in my top 5 books of 2019 so I’m so pleased I won and now have a beautiful signed copy to sit with all my other favourite books on the shelf. Here is my original review and I stand by every word ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We are transported back to the lush, hot summer of 1969 and a grand house in the country called Lyntons. Here we meet mild mannered Frances, a 39 year old spinster and charming Peter, who have both been asked to carry out surveys and inventories on the house before the new American owner arrives. Peter is accompanied by his younger, fiery girlfriend Cara. And the three of them spend one glorious, lazy summer together. Swimming in the lake during the day, drinking and eating homemade pasta at night. Making wonderful discoveries in this house full of secrets and entertaining each other in the evenings. Living in their own little bubble, until the bubble bursts with dramatic consequences.
I found myself connecting with Frances. Lonely and coming to terms with her mother’s death, after caring for her for many years, she is drawn into the decadent and exciting life of Peter and Cara. To always be an outsider and then suddenly be welcomed into the inner circle, to feel you belong. Peter and Cara are so vivid and full of life no matter how imperfect and Frances can’t help but be drawn to them. Her beige world is now full of colour.
It is just such a gorgeous book. Lyntons deserves to go down in fictional folklore like du Maurier’s Manderley. This is a book about wanting, belonging, friendship, jealousy. Dark and bewitching. I can’t stop thinking about it. “She thanked me for listening, and I saw it was that easy, that was all I had to do to make a friend; she wasn’t looking for answers. It was that afternoon when she told me I was beautiful, and for a summer, for a month, I chose to believe her”