Jeanie and Julius have spent their entire lives together. Over half a century of life together has passed, and they have never spent an entire night separate from each other. Jeanie tends the garden with their mother, Dot, and Julius works odd jobs in the village. Jeanie, Julius, and Dot depend fiercely on one another. They accept nothing from the outside world- at least, Jeanie and Julius spent the last 51 years believing that they were accepting nothing and indebted to no one but each other.
Their life together is as delicate and intricate as the cobwebs that festoon their crumbling cottage, and an event within the first few pages reduces their web to dust. Family secrets aren’t entirely secret, long spoken understandings are not truly understood, and friends morph quickly into foes before flashing back again. Claire Fuller plants landmines like tiny seeds throughout the story; tiny hidden things burst forth without warning. Fuller doesn’t broadcast her attacks; they hit suddenly and with a reverberating force that brings more information to light while causing the reader (and characters within) to re-think everything that they have learned thus far.
This was my first experience with Fuller; Bitter Orange has been kicking about on my TBR for some time, and it it is anything like Unsettled Ground I will be swallowing it whole as soon as it is in my hands. I was reminded throughout of Lauren Groff, Tana French, and Ruth Gilligan- authors who squeeze mystery and suspense from how unsettling quiet country life can truly be.
I received this ARC from the Tin House Galley Club in exchange for a fair and honest review