Reading lists

Claire Fuller on the classic books that inspired Bitter Orange

Claire shares the classic novels that served as inspiration during her writing process, from authors including Jean Rhys to J.P. Hartley.

Claire Fuller
Claire Fuller

Many authors say that they can’t read other novels while they’re writing their own, afraid that the style and tone will rub off on their own work. But I’m the opposite, I read, read, read while I’m writing. Sometimes I read novels for their particular tone and style, others for their content, and of course non-fiction for research. I probably read about 160 books over the two years it took me to write Bitter Orange, some purely for pleasure, but many because they threw a light in some way on the story I was writing. Here are six that were perhaps the most influential, but more importantly they are books that I love and would recommend to anyone.
 

The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
Kittie Lacey is the best hairdresser in all of Fairyland. . .

A brave, stylish heroine for whom no tangle is too troublesome and no frizz too fearsome!

________

It's Prince Freddie's coronation and Kittie is styling all her fairytale friends for an animal-themed parade to celebrate!

But something's gone wrong. . . Prince Freddie is nowhere to be seen! Could his mysterious cousin be behind it? And who is this funny little frog in Kittie's salon?

Together with her new friend Princess Lily, Kittie sets out to solve the mystery and bring order back to Fairyland.

Have you read any more of Kittie's fairytale adventures?
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy
Fairytale Hairdresser and Father Christmas
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Aladdin
Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White
Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
Kittie Lacey is the best hairdresser in all of Fairyland. . .

A brave, stylish heroine for whom no tangle is too troublesome and no frizz too fearsome!

________

It's Prince Freddie's coronation and Kittie is styling all her fairytale friends for an animal-themed parade to celebrate!

But something's gone wrong. . . Prince Freddie is nowhere to be seen! Could his mysterious cousin be behind it? And who is this funny little frog in Kittie's salon?

Together with her new friend Princess Lily, Kittie sets out to solve the mystery and bring order back to Fairyland.

Have you read any more of Kittie's fairytale adventures?
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy
Fairytale Hairdresser and Father Christmas
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Aladdin
Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White
Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Frog
Kittie Lacey is the best hairdresser in all of Fairyland. . .

A brave, stylish heroine for whom no tangle is too troublesome and no frizz too fearsome!

________

It's Prince Freddie's coronation and Kittie is styling all her fairytale friends for an animal-themed parade to celebrate!

But something's gone wrong. . . Prince Freddie is nowhere to be seen! Could his mysterious cousin be behind it? And who is this funny little frog in Kittie's salon?

Together with her new friend Princess Lily, Kittie sets out to solve the mystery and bring order back to Fairyland.

Have you read any more of Kittie's fairytale adventures?
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Sugar Plum Fairy
Fairytale Hairdresser and Father Christmas
Fairytale Hairdresser and the Aladdin
Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White
Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella

6. Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

I’ve been going on about how much I love this short novel since it was published in 2016. Told over the course of an unseasonably warm Mothering Sunday in 1924, Jean Fairchild, a maid in an English country house meets her aristocrat lover for the last time. The writing has a beautiful lazy tone; dated and sunny, and sad, and the story, told from memory has a beautiful cyclical quality, as memories often do. Then right in the middle it punches you in the stomach. 

 

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