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
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.
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
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 THE 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
[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