Unsettled Ground: Book summary and reviews of Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground

by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller X
Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller
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  • Publishes in USA 
    May 18, 2021
    330 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the award-winning author of Our Endless Numbered Days, Swimming Lessons, and Bitter Orange comes a brilliant novel about an unusual family held together by a string of lies, a small town with too many questions, and a sudden death that threatens to undo them all.

At fifty-one years old, twins Jeanie and Julius still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation in the English countryside. The cottage they have shared their entire lives is their only protection against the modernizing world around them. Inside its walls, they make music, and in its garden, they grow everything they need to survive. To an outsider, it looks like poverty; to them, it is home.

But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the world they've so carefully created begins to fall apart. The cottage they love, and the security it offered, is taken back by their landlord, exposing the twins to harsh truths and even harsher realities. Seeing a new future, Julius becomes torn between the loyalty he feels towards his sister and his desire for independence, while Jeanie struggles to find work and a home for them both. And just when it seems there might be a way forward, a series of startling secrets from their mother's past come to the surface, forcing the twins to question who they are, and everything they know of their family's history.

In Unsettled Ground, award-winning author Claire Fuller masterfully builds a tale of sacrifice and hope, of homelessness and hardship, of love and survival, in which two marginalized and remarkable people uncover long-held family secrets and, in their own way, repair, recover, and begin again.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fuller paints a devastatingly haunting picture of abject poverty, especially in her descriptions of the houses they dwell in, each of which becomes a character in its own right. This tale offers a remarkable peek into how the embrace of family can completely smother other aspects of life. Nevertheless, human ingenuity persists...It's reassuring to think that reinvention is possible after all." - Booklist (starred review)

"[E]vocative and wondrously anachronistic...Though some readers may struggle to find their footing in the somewhat amorphous setting, Fuller builds suspense over the twins' fate and ends with a brilliant twist. This one is worth staying with." - Publishers Weekly

"Fuller is a master of building suspense. At once unsettling and hopeful, her book checks all the boxes of an engrossing mystery, but it falters in its pacing. And when the book's big dark secret is finally exhumed, the reader feels just as cheated as its protagonists do. Misfortune runs amok in a story that can only be saved by turning the last page." - Kirkus Reviews

"Revelatory...a powerful, beautiful novel." - The Times (UK)

"So sharply, so utterly brilliant that I found myself holding my breath while reading, dazzled by Fuller's mastery and precision." - Lauren Groff

"Fuller's prose is darkly elegant, her eye for character astute and humane, and her sense of place vividly atmospheric—here is a writer of great skill, sensitivity, and subtlety." - Lucy Atkins

This information about Unsettled Ground shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Claire Fuller

Claire Fuller was born in Oxfordshire, England. She has written three novels: Our Endless Numbered Days, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize; Swimming Lessons; and Bitter Orange. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Winchester and lives in Hampshire with her husband.

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