Book Review: Tangerine

TANGERINE | Christine Mangan
03.27.2018 | Ecco
Rating: 4/5 stars

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Alice Shipley and her new husband, John, have uprooted their lives and moved to Tangier. As Alice is working to find her place in this new home she receives an unexpected visitor. The last person she ever expected to show up at her doorstep is Lucy Mason. These former friends were once inseparable roommates at Bennington. A tragic accident changed everything and they haven’t spoken since that day over a year ago. Alice is cautious at first, but slowly begins to trust Lucy to help her acclimate to life in Morocco. Lucy helps Alice get over her fears and venture into the heat and explore her new home.

Everything is starting to feel like the old days that the former friends enjoyed until Alice begins to feel smothered. Lucy is everywhere and in everything and there’s no break, no escape. When Alice’s husband, John, goes missing there seems to be much more to the story than Alice ever fathomed. With doubts filling her mind to the extent where she doesn’t know if she can even trust herself, Alice tries to distinguish fact from fiction.

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Everything changes, sooner or later. Time moves along, without constraints – no matter how hard one may attempt to pause, to alter, to rewrite it.

TANGERINE is an atmospheric, slow burn crime fiction tale that will sweep you away to Tangier and the lives of two women with a plethora of secrets. Christine Mangan introduces the reader to Alice and Lucy through alternating narratives. We are given the chance to learn about each woman individually and hear their opinions on what tore the duo apart and where they stand today. It’s clear that Lucy desperately wants to be friends with Alice and Alice is fighting this, but why? That’s the thing you have to pay attention to in the narrative and look for clues about the night of the accident that is repeatedly brought up.

You might think that the grand reveal over this mysterious event would give the reader some clarity as to who to trust. Are you team Alice or team Lucy? Good luck deciding because each woman is sticking firmly to their version of events and you simply can’t trust them! Unreliable narrators are something frequent crime fiction readers encounter regularly, but for me, Alice and Lucy felt different. There was a tug and pull back and forth between the women where I wanted to trust each of them because they felt so genuine. It wasn’t alcohol or drugs being used to make them unreliable characters, which I think also helped them stand apart from the crowd.

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Time moves quickly, I have found, turning people and places into first history and then later stories.

One of the most prominent aspects of this book that made me fall in love was how atmospheric Mangan’s writing became. I was swept away to the heat of Tangier. Despite never traveling to this part of the world, I felt as though I could perfectly imagine the locations traveled to by the narrators. I could see myself in their interactions. Similar to the way Jane Harper is able to transport me to Australia, I felt Mangan achieved with Tangier.

TANGERINE has received a mixture of reviews and ratings from various readers and I can easily see this book dividing readers opinions. There will be those that originally picked this up because they heard it was a thriller. It’s not. This book is a slow burn through and through. It’s an intense look into a friendship and the women on both sides. There are moments of suspense, but not to the level I would deem a book to be a thriller. I do caution those that don’t enjoy a slower paced book that they may not love this one as much as I did, but the fun of reading is trying things! Since this is an older title, I say borrow it from the library or look for a copy at a used bookstore and give it a shot! I also greatly encourage listening to the audiobook as the narration is outstanding!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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