Book Beginnings & The Friday 56: Tangerine by Christine Mangan

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading. You can also share from a book you want to highlight just because it caught your fancy.

This week I’m featuring Tangerine by Christine Mangan. A few years ago I bought this book attracted by its cover, something I rarely do, but it was so eye-catching on the bookshop’s display table. Since then I’ve seen very mixed reviews, some severely criticising it and some heaping praise on it. I’m wondering what I’ll make of it – the blurb makes it sound a book I’d like. If you’ve read it please let me know what you thought.

The Book Begins:

Tuesdays were market days.

Not just for me, but for the entire city, the Rif women parading down from the mountains heralding the start, their baskets and carts overflowing with fruit and vegetables, their donkeys flanking them on either side.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice. *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to Page 56 or 56% on your  ereader . If you have to improvise, that is okay. *Find a snippet, short and sweet, but no spoilers!

These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader. If you have to improvise, that is okay.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

I noted again the strangeness in her sudden cheerfulness – such a change from the stoic calmness she had exhibited earlier that morning. It was almost frantic, as if at any moment it could all go horribly wrong.


The perfect read for fans of Daphne du Maurier and Patricia Highsmith, set in 1950s Morocco, Tangerine is a gripping psychological literary thriller.

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends – once inseparable roommates – haven’t spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.

Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.

But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice – she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Tangerine is an extraordinary debut, so tightly wound, so evocative of 1950s Tangier, and so cleverly plotted that it will leave you absolutely breathless.


What have you been reading lately?

14 thoughts on “Book Beginnings & The Friday 56: Tangerine by Christine Mangan

  1. Oh, I hope you’ll enjoy this one, Margaret. I confess I’ve not read it, but it’s been on my wishlist for a long time. I’m glad you’ve reminded me of it, and I look forward to your thoughts on it.

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  2. I was immediately attracted to Tangerine when it came out — I love exotic settings, was in the mood for noir and, as you say, there IS that marvelous cover! Sad to say, I’m one of the critics. I found the writing “flat” for want of a better word; the setting never came alive for me and I was underwhelmed by the plot. To be fair, I abandoned the book halfway, so keep that in mind; had I finished, who knows? I might have reached a different conclusion.
    I think Mangan did a subsequent novel, set in Venice; although I’m usually a sucker for novels set in Venice, I decided not to take a chance on it . . . .

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  3. The 1950’s Moroccan setting is appealing. I am not sure if I have heard of Tangerine before. The second excerpt you shared definitely has me curious what is going on–something obviously. I hope you fall on the side of those who enjoyed this one! Have a great weekend.

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  4. The cover does grab you. The trouble is the mash of literary and thriller. Thrillers are supposed to be action packed and fast paced. Literary works are leisurely walks around the inside of someone’s head. So, maybe the combo isn’t a good fit, or doesn’t meet some readers’ expectations of one genre or the other?

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  5. I’m afraid I’m another of the abandoners – I made it to 25%. I didn’t hate it – it’s a pretty standard “that day” thriller, and she’s good at the atmosphere of the Moroccan setting. But her writing style didn’t work for me, I didn’t like any of the characters, and these “that day” books drive me mad. I love the cover, but this one really deserves to join the ranks of the woman in the red jacket… Haha, despite all that I hope it works better for you!

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