It's 1969, and while the summer of love lingers in London, Gilda is consumed by the mistakes of her past. She walked out on her beloved son Reuben when he was just a boy and fears he'll never forgive her.
When Reuben marries a petite blonde gentile, Gilda takes it as the ultimate rejection. Her cold, distant son seems transformed by love – a love she's craved his entire adult life. What does his new wife have that she doesn't? And how far will she go to find out? It's an obsession that will bring shocking truths about the past to light . . .
Bitter is a beautiful and devastating novel about the decisions that define our lives, the fragility of love and the bond between mother and son.
"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, The Guardian
"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."
"[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."
"What a heartbreaking book! Highly readable, I couldn't put down and towards the end even shed an unwanted tear. I loved it and highly recommend this touching book."
Carolyn Zeroni, "Nuritha"
"I loved the end which could easily have turned into kitsch, but no, the author chose a very realistic one."
Rachel Faran, "Saloona"
"A beautiful human story populated by well developed characters and with scenes that border between the tragic and the comic."
Suzan Tsadok, "The Book Parliament"
"Bitter is a masterpiece. Francesca Jakobi's writing is guaranteed to move you. A must read."
Shira Miller, "Pinookim"
"It is hard to believe that Bitter is the author's debut novel, it is so beautifully written and heartbreaking.... A superb and highly recommended read."
Aya Ibraheem, "Saloona"