Press Reviews for Bitter

'A riveting study of a woman who takes motherly concern to sinister extremes' DAILY MAIL

Jakobi's debut is ambitious in scope, investigating her central character in forensic detail, with short, pacy chapters that alternate between past and present . . . At once tragic and engrossing, this gimlet-eyed character study elicits sympathy and damnation, both for Gilda herself and for the circumstances that have defined her' (FINANCIAL TIMES)

Provocative and skilful . . . The results are as hilarious as they are unsettling as Jakobi exploits the stereotype of the needy Jewish mother and we are drawn against our better judgment to side with out-of-control Gilda (Barry Forshaw GUARDIAN)

[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)

The chapters are short between past and present and Jakobi’s imagery transports you from bombed London streets to the anything-goes vibes at the end of the swinging ’60s, from the severe colours of war to the colourful dresses and freedom of the flyaway bob. You get to know why Gilda left Reuben, why she is stalking his wife, and why she is so alone. A terrifying and poignant portrait of a lonely woman (SUNDAY TIMES, SOUTH AFRICA)

'Bitter is stormingly good, deliciously addictive, as gripping as Zoe Heller's Notes on A Scandal. It's got to be the beach read of 2018!'
(Peter Bradshaw, Guardian Film Critic)

Wonderful . . . It's a very painful story but told with a kind of lightness and grace. Francesca Jakobi completely inhabits Gilda, in all her pain and obsession, all her self-deception and self-sabotage. An absolutely astonishing first novel' (Michael Frayn, author of SPIES)

It’s a powerful, heartbreaking, unputdownable read that stays in the mind and Gilda is set to become one of literature’s most memorable characters. Perfect for fans of Maggie O Farrell or Zoe Heller (COUNTRY CALLING)

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)