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  • Published: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241983461
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

Bitter Orange

A tense novel about deception, sexual obsession and atonement, by the prize-winning author of Our Endless Numbered Days

Frances Jellico is dying. A man who calls himself the vicar visits, hoping to extract a deathbed confession. He wants to know what really happened that fateful summer of 1969, when Frances - tasked with surveying a dilapidated country house - first set eyes on the glamorous bohemian couple, Cara and Peter. She recalls the relationship they forged through sweltering days, lavish dinners and elaborate lies, and the Judas hole through which she would spy on the couple.

Were the signs there right from the beginning?
Or was it impossible to avoid the crime that split their lives open like rotten fruit?

  • Published: 7 May 2019
  • ISBN: 9780241983461
  • Imprint: Penguin General UK
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England, in 1967. She gained a degree in sculpture from Winchester School of Art, but went on to have a long career in marketing and didn't start writing until she was forty. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband and two children. She is also an artist and sculptor and has had several short stories published. Our Endless Numbered Days is her first novel.

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Praise for Bitter Orange

A twisty, thorny, darkly atmospheric page turner about loneliness and belonging

Gabriel Tallent, author of My Absolute Darling

Reminds me of JL Carr's A Month in the Country, Daphne Du Maurier's Jamaica Inn, and Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle. Incredibly atmospheric, vivid, and intriguing. I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn't reading a forgotten classic.

Emma Healey

A rich, dark pressure cooker of a novel that simmers with slow heat and suppressed tension

Ruth Ware

As haunting as tuberose and delicate as a scalpel

Laline Paull

A sinister story that considers the terrifying lengths people will go to escape their pasts. In the vein of Shirley Jackson's bone-chilling The Haunting of Hill House, Fuller's disturbing novel will entrap readers in its twisty narrative, leaving them to reckon with what is real and what is unreal. An intoxicating, unsettling masterpiece.


It is rare for me to put down a novel and then immediately consider rereading it to see what cleverness I might have missed. This time, though, I am tempted.

Lucy Atkins, Sunday Times

Bitter Orange reads like an assured, old-school, du Maurieresque classic. It's an atmospheric page-turner that speeds us towards a bloody climax of shocks and surprises

Irish Times

This darkly smouldering, desperately sad, superior psychological thriller contains shades of Zoe Heller's Notes On A Scandal

Daily Mail

Rich and compelling. Fuller is an accomplished writer


Full of complex characters and narrative richness

The Sunday Times Culture

An exquisite and skilfully written novel, which worms its way under your skin while Frances's loneliness seeps off every page


A rich and hypnotic read


Fuller is a master at summoning the atmosphere of a heady, hot summer that thrums with tension


Loneliness, guilt and atonement are at the heart of the atmospheric Bitter Orange

Good Housekeeping

Multi-layered, lush, twisty and brilliantly clever

The Sunday Mirror

Atmospheric. Rich, clever and very readable.

Amanda Craig, Telegraph

Heady, claustrophobic . . . makes for perfect heatwave reading. Echoes Penelope Lively's Booker-winning Moon Tiger, Anita Brookner's Look At Me, and Sarah Waters' The Little Stranger


Naturally engaging and elegantly written. Fuller is an amply gifted storyteller


With shades of Brideshead and Manderley, Claire Fuller's atmospheric third novel plays a satisfyingly unpredictable game with reader expectations. Prepare to be meticulously unsettled and horribly enthralled

Country Life

A compulsive page-turner. Fuller creates an atmosphere of simmering menace with all the assurance of a latter-day Daphne du Maurier

The Times

Full of dark foreboding. Claire Fuller is a dazzling storyteller

Belfast Telegraph

Dark, beautifully written. It reminds me very much of Ian McEwan's Atonement, with similar slow-build tension and claustrophobic atmosphere

The Pool

A stealthy shocker about thwarted desire. A sinister, slow-burn tale that saves its most heart-wrenching revelation for last


Cannily releasing clues on the way to an explosive finale . . . The lush setting and remarkable characters make for an immersive mystery

Publishers Weekly

A smart creation from a skilled writer: a heady psychological novel that builds its layers carefully to allow gradual revelations and stomach-churning surprises

Financial Times

Sinister and suspenseful, this gothic novel simmers with guilt, lust and envy

Mail on Sunday

A delicate and disturbing read, alive with love, lust, envy and guilt

S Magazine

Bewitching, otherworldly . . . full of dark foreboding. Claire Fuller is a dazzling storyteller.


Elegant, atmospheric, vivid

The Big Issue

Beautifully written, with echoes of Barbara Vine and Daphne du Maurier

Andrew Taylor, Spectator Books of the Year 2018

Sumptuous and sinister with gothic hints, this is a compelling tale of blurred friendships


Nothing is quite what it seems in this engrossing, moreish novel about a naïve woman and the hedonistic couple who beguile her

Sunday Times Culture

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