Tangerine, the debut novel by Christine Mangan, tells the story of Alice Shipley, a delicate young woman, orphaned while at college, and swiftly married to obvious jerk John. Alice hates Tangier for various reasons, mostly that she feels unsafe there, but has seized the opportunity to be far away from a mysterious accident and an altercation with her former bff and room-mate Lucy Mason. But – surprise, surprise! – Lucy still wants to be best mates, and she shows up in Tangier and indeed at Alice’s apartment, ready to help her out of her shell.
I don’t want to give too much about this book away, because it’s such a satisfying and tightly-plotted thriller. The real charm is the complexity of Lucy and Alice’s relationship, one that combines devotion, obsession, gaslighting, desire, co-dependency, jealousy and fantasy. Tangier emerges as an enticing and intoxicating mystery, as seductive and charming to Lucy as it is threatening and unfamiliar to Alice. John is a solid gold arse – self-importantly surrounding himself with books that he has never read, and bragging about his government job, bullying Alice and trying to intimidate Lucy. Having read on the blurb that he was going to disappear, I was extremely joyful when this came to pass.
The great joy in the book is Lucy – charming and slippery, insecure, needy, and manipulative. If you can enjoy a savage thriller in which almost everyone is a horrible person (and in which those who are ‘nice’ are intolerably wet) this is the book for you. I enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone!
You’ll love this book if:
– You like a good thriller
– You are fascinated by odd female friendships
– You enjoy a vivid setting
You might want to avoid this book if:
– For some reason you hate books about women and their complex relationships
– For some reason you dislike Tangier
Love Lavinia xoxo
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