I read The Bitter Orange as a buddy read through Goodreads called Book Club for Introverts.
I struggled with this read in the beginning so much so I had a to take a break between every few pages. But fellow readers told me to keep going so I did. I have a really hard time with DNF books, but there are so many great books I can’t waste time with books that bore me or are just bad, speaking of wasting time, back to the review.
There was so much time spent developing characters and explaining relationships and not much on the content or plot. There was a bouncing between Fran in the present where she is in a room with a vistor and the main story line set in an English country cottage in the summer of 69.
Fran meets Cara and Peter, after she spies on them through the floorboard for a while, and they become quite the trio. As the summer progresses Fran realizes Cara is a little off, and her stories are outlandish. Peter, always the protector, finds friendship with Fran but Fran imagines something more. Cara, the jealous type starts to turn on Fran when she imagines a love happening between Fran and Peter. The summer and their time together wraps up with a crime that leads to a CRAZY twist, so much so that I had to talk about it with my husband at the moment I read the last page because it was too much to keep in.
The reader is taken back to the room with Fran and her visitor to reveal where they are and there is a final moment of “what in the world did I just read”. I still have so many questions and the loose ends were many.
I hated Peter, Cara and Fran at different points but felt sorry for them the whole book. Each one was in a trap from their past they couldn’t escape that would eventually lead to a connection, the bitter orange, between the 3 that will last a life time.
I gave Bitter Orange 4 stars because of the last few chapters, but remove those and it would have been a 3 at most.
Claire Fuller is a beautiful writer and I appreciate her talent. My questions and confusion only made the ending that much more enjoyable.