Bitter Orange

Bitter Orange

Book - 2018
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From the attic of a dilapidated English country house, she sees them -- Cara first: dark and beautiful, clinging to a marble fountain of Cupid, and Peter, an Apollo. It is 1969 and they are spending the summer in the rooms below hers, while Frances writes a report on the follies in the garden. But she is distracted. Beneath a floorboard in her bathroom, she discovers a peephole which gives her access to her neighbours' private lives.

To Frances' surprise, Cara and Peter are keen to spend time with her. It is the first occasion that 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 till 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 of that summer, a small crime brings on a bigger one: a crime so terrible that it will brand all their lives forever.

Publisher: [Toronto] :, Anansi International,, ©2018.
ISBN: 9781487004675
Branch Call Number: FICTION FUL
Characteristics: 279 pages ; 22 cm


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Nov 08, 2018

The narrator, Frances, conceivably takes us from a time where she was caretaker of her dying mother to her summer job at an old estate. Here she meets and lives with Cara and Peter who have a questionable relationship with mystery and intrigue. There's a peephole in the floor to the bathroom below, Victor the vicar, strange finding of the past contents of the mansion, and the ensuing behaviours and interactions that take place. Some occurrences are left to the reader to decide but that often is what compels a good mystery. I felt the pace and careful reveal of information was akin to an obstacle course that eventually led us to an interesting end. Well told story.

Oct 26, 2018

There’s a line in the book that sums up it’s traverse well, “The feeling of everything being too late, pointless and wasted.” If you’re looking for a happy ending skip Bitter Orange; this book for me was too sad and depressing and left too many questions unanswered. If you love tragic, haunting characters and decaying mansions, read on.

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