Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour celebrations for Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller. Many thanks to Hannah Sawyer for the invite onto the tour and my review copy of the book.

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant?

What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Inside the walls of their old cottage they make music, and in the garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. Jeanie and Julius would do anything to preserve their small sanctuary against the perils of the outside world, even as their mother’s secrets begin to unravel, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.  

Unsettled Ground is a heart-stopping novel of betrayal and resilience, love and survival. It is a portrait of life on the fringes of society that explores with dazzling emotional power how we can build our lives on broken foundations, and spin light from darkness.

Claire Fuller is one of my favourite authors. Her books are just so beautifully written that I never want them to end! I didn’t think she could better my favourite of her books Our Endless Numbered Days but Unsettled Ground had me so immersed in its poignancy and the vulnerability of its characters that it very quickly became obvious that I was reading a book that I will adore for a very long time to come.

Now everyone knows I have an incredibly unhealthy interest in the relationship between twins that I’ve developed a fascination for over the years. It’s such a unique sibling relationship and I love picking apart their reactions to each other and the silent (and not so silent!) interactions between them. Julius and Jeanie are 51 years old and still living with their mother in the cottage in which they were born. But when Dot dies unexpectedly, the twins lives are thrown into disarray as they realise that not everything was as it seemed as they fight to survive the aftermath and stay in the home they love.

Many times throughout this breathtaking book, I had to put it down and just inhale the whole ambiance of the plot. It is truly stunning! The character of Jeanie especially burrowed herself under my skin and into my heart. Her quiet determination to cope with everything with just her twin for help and not accept any, what she sees as charity, from her friends and community completely broke me. Her vulnerability was almost palpable as was her reticence, her devotion to her dog Maude showing the love that she held inside herself.

This is a wonderful book, one that I have no hesitation in recommending. I loved Claire Fullers stylishly composed and poetic prose throughout and didn’t want it to end. Perfection!

Claire Fuller is the author of Bitter Orange (2018), Swimming Lessons (2017), which was shortlisted for the Encore Prize for second novels, and Our Endless Numbered Days (2015) which won the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction. http://www.clairefuller.co.uk

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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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