Francesca Jakobi - Bitter - Orion Publishing Group

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    • ISBN:9781474607582
    • Publication date:04 Oct 2018


By Francesca Jakobi
Read by Charlotte Strevens

  • Downloadable audio file
  • £P.O.R.

How far will a mother go to win back the son she walked out on? A riveting literary thriller perfect for fans of Zoe Heller, Harriet Lane and Louise Doughty.

It's 1969, the summer of love still lingers in London, but Gilda is haunted by her wartime past. She walked out on her son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he'll never forgive her. When he marries a small, blonde gentile, she takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love. What does his new wife have that she doesn't?

As Gilda's obsession builds, she starts to follow her daughter-in-law, copies her hairstyle and breaks into the newlyweds' home. Watching her son and his wife stumble through their first few months of marriage, she is forced to reflect on how she ended up so alone. And when new and shocking truths come to light, she has the opportunity to put the past to rest. She must decide between doing what is right and the tantalising prospect of revenge.

Read by Charlotte Strevens
(p) Orion Publishing Group 2018

Biographical Notes

Francesca studied psychology at the University of Sussex, followed by a stint teaching English in Turkey and the Czech Republic. On returning to her native London she got a job as a reporter on a local paper and has worked in journalism ever since. She's currently a layout editor at the FINANCIAL TIMES. BITTER is her first novel.

  • Other details

  • ISBN: 9781409175377
  • Publication date: 08 Mar 2018
  • Page count:
  • Imprint: Orion
Bitter by Francesca Jakobi is stormingly good, deliciously addictive, as gripping as Zoë Heller's Notes on a Scandal. It's got to be the beach read of 2018! — Peter Bradshaw, Guardian Film Critic
BITTER is just wonderful. It's a very painful story but told with a kind of lightness and grace. It's so well-written, with such deceptive directness and simplicity, so well-organised and well-paced. Francesca Jakobi completely inhabits Gilda, in all her pain and obsession, all her self-deception and self-sabotage. An absolutely astonishing first novel — Michael Frayn, author of SPIES

I bloody loved this book. It was emotionally so intense, so addictive, I tore through it, unable to stop. Buy it. Read it

— Susie Steiner, author of MISSING, PRESUMED and PERSONS UNKNOWN
Provocative and skilful . . . The results are as hilarious as they are unsettling as Jakobi exploits the stereotype of the needy Jewish mother and we are drawn against our better judgment to side with out-of-control Gilda — Barry Forshaw, GUARDIAN
Jakobi's debut is ambitious in scope, investigating her central character in forensic detail, with short, pacy chapters that alternate between past and present . . . At once tragic and engrossing, this gimlet-eyed character study elicits sympathy and damnation, both for Gilda herself and for the circumstances that have defined her' — FINANCIAL TIMES
[A] riveting study of a woman who takes motherly concern to rather sinister extremes . . . it slowly, tantalisingly becomes clear that Gilda has never been in charge of her life . . . and shocking secrets from her past will have the power to transform her present — Daily Mail
Brilliantly paced, moving, thoughtful and sharp. Loved it — Renée Knight, author of DISCLAIMER
Bitter, yes, but also sweet -- and moving, and searching, and quietly devastating: a novel to detonate the heart. Steep yourself in this exquisite story. You won't regret it, and you won't forget it. Fans of Gail Honeyman and Joanna Cannon will love Bitter — A.J. Finn, author of THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW
Gloriously sinister and yet, when you least expect it, quietly heartbreaking. Brilliant — Nicci Cloke, author of CLOSE YOUR EYES
I loved BITTER . . . an incredibly moving novel about a mother's guilt and shame at her inability to bond with her son. It is a beautifully woven tale that tilts with issues of class and race and religion. The reader's feelings towards the protagonist always balance somewhere between pity and indignation, never drifting towards any simplistic sense of certainty — Brett Anderson, GUARDIAN, Best Books of 2018
A moving, powerful story of love, obsession, guilt, lies and the lengths we'll go to for a second chance — Tammy Cohen
'I loved this book so much. Really moving and completely absorbing - I loved Gilda's voice' — Laura Marshall, author of FRIEND REQUEST
This is an original and heartbreaking novel - beautifully written with such a powerful voice. I couldn't put it down — Chloë Mayer, author of THE BOY MADE OF SNOW
A beautiful, poignant and - at times - unsettling insight into motherhood: its triumphs and disappointments but, above all, its power to transform relationships. I loved it — Elisa Lodato, author of AN UNREMARKABLE BODY
Compelling and, in places, heartbreaking. A beautiful portrait of a mother's love — Joanna Barnard, author of PRECOCIOUS and HUSH LITTLE BABY
I hated Gilda at first, her judgemental, mean spirited view of the world. She seemed to be the kind of person I would run from at parties. Then, as time went on, this woman felt no longer bitter, but like someone I had come to love. Such clever storytelling . . . By the end I was running towards the finish line, desperate to see her come through — Amanda Smyth, author of BLACK ROCK and A KIND OF EDEN
Beautifully written and paced. I was hooked - heart in mouth from the beginning. Exquisite storytelling — Sally Magnusson, author of THE SEALWOMAN’S GIFT

BITTER is an incredible book about familial love gone wrong: deeply felt, subtly wrought and deliciously complicated

— Rachel Heng, author of SUICIDE CLUB
It's not easy to make a reader fall in love with a character who is as flawed as Gilda. She is difficult, snooty, and unhinged - and I absolutely adored her. She deserves to take her place beside character greats such as Olive Kitteridge and Eleanor Oliphant . . . Although this is an incredibly moving book - I sobbed my way through the final 30 pages - there are some wonderfully funny moments too. Bitter has left me with one of the most severe book hangovers I've ever experienced. It's a masterpiece — Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room
A beautiful and original story. I absolutely loved it — Clare Empson, author of HIM
Jakobi's imagery transports you from bombed London streets to the anything goes vibes at the end of the swinging '60s . . . a terrifying and poignant portrait of a lonely woman **** — Jennifer Platt, SOUTH AFRICAN SUNDAY TIMES
BITTER hits every single one of my must-reads. An incredibly well-drawn, flawed female lead character; a 1960s setting and an unsettling yet realistic family dynamic . . . BITTER is deeply moving and so very wise. I absolutely adored it — Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox