Unsettled Ground By Claire Fuller – A Review

Publisher: Penguin Fig Tree

Publication Date: 25th March 2021

I am a huge fan of Claire Fuller’s writing. Her book Bitter Orange was one of my favourite books of 2018. Not only do I love her writing style, I love her book recommendations over on Instagram and have found some great books this way.

Unsettled Ground tells the story of 51 year old twins Jeanie and Julius Seeder who have lived all of their lives in a cottage with their mother Dot. The book opens with the death of Dot and what follows on from this tragic event is Jeanie and Julius slowly discovering that their mother was not as she appeared and a huge part of their lives had been built around secrets and lies.

Dots death is the catalyst for a huge chain of events which leave Jeanie and Julius struggling not only with their grief but the possibility of losing their home and finding themselves plunged into the harsh realities of poverty and financial strain.

The relationship between the twins is ever evolving and morphing after the death of their mother as they strive to find a way to survive in her absence as her secrets are revealed bit by bit.

Claire Fuller’s characters are always fully rounded and so well written. We have not only the two main characters of Jeanie and Julius but the peripheral characters who circle the twins lives be they good in intention or not.

Jeanie is an introverted woman who was essentially cosseted by her mother in childhood due to a heart condition. She even slept in the same bed as her mother right up until the day she died. Despite this, Jeanie does learn to become independent and fend for herself and her brother however she can.

The overall poverty and financial struggle in the twins lives is so sad but written so deftly. It’s hard to imagine being plunged into a new life and having to question your whole past and worry about your future. Essentially the whole foundation of the twins lives is shaken.

Claire’s writing is just so beautiful and has an underlying tension and sense of atmosphere which builds as the book progresses. I enjoy feeling tense when reading (I’m perhaps a little strange in that respect!) and reading Unsettled Ground made me feel just that, unsettled.

I will always read whatever Claire writes and I have a feeling that I will always enjoy what she writes too. I know I am in safe hands with her excellent writing and storytelling skills.

This book has now been longlisted for the Women’s Prize For Fiction and I couldn’t be more thrilled for Claire. Fingers crossed!

Please do pick up a copy of Unsettled Ground. You won’t regret it!

Thank you as always to the publisher for my review copy.

See you soon

Amanda – Bookish Chat xx

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