Bitter Leaves

Welcome to the black heart of Singapore’s maid culture, where a woman’s life is cheap in one of the richest countries in the world.

Here are the voices of the unheard, of maid and employer, of village girl and city dweller. Follow Lucilla, Ma’am Leslie, Shammi and Madame Eunice as they strive, each in her own way, to exist in a country in which dark shadows lie beneath its pristine exterior.

The lives of these women are woven together by a narrative which is always candid and often brutal, as it explores the effects of loss, madness, abuse and hope during a woman's life and in society as a whole.

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About the author

Tabatha Stirling lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, after having spent six years abroad in Singapore and Germany. When she's not writing or baking cupcakes, she is thinking about writing, reading, and designing book covers.

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Why We Like It

  • "A great read; tense, vivid and involving, both heart-breaking and heart-warming." Lesley Glaister
  • A brave debut from a talented author
  • The nuanced narratives of the four very different female characters are superbly intertwined

Tabatha Stirling

Tabatha lives in Edinburgh, Scotland with her Warrior-Poet husband, two children and a depressed Beagle, called The Beagle. They came back to live Scotland after six years abroad in Singapore and Germany.

She has had many jobs, including working the door at London clubs, cupcake baker, cycle courier and a counsellor. She always wanted to work for MI5 but failed the critical thinking test.

She has started her Mlitt in Creative Writing at Glasgow University, and was looking forward to being back at Uni, albeit part time.

When she's not writing or baking cupcakes, she is thinking about writing, reading, designing book covers, gaming or watching dark, blood-splattered dramas like the Walking Dead, Ray Donavon and Sons of Anarchy.

How it works

The book will be delivered in 10 instalments (or staves), one every day. The instalments are delivered to your Pigeonhole bookshelf on your IOS or Android app, plus you can read on our web reader. You will receive an email letting you know when each stave is available.

We believe that shared reading leads to new ideas and connections. That’s why we have a dynamic commenting system which allows in-text discussion between our readers. Post a comment and all your fellow readers will be able to respond. You can also choose to receive notifications (customise them here) when someone responds to your comment, or, additionally, whenever a comment is left in the book.

As you read you will see round purple icons at the edge of certain paragraphs – tap on these to reveal behind-the-scenes extra content!

We kindly ask that you help us spread the brilliance of this book and support the author by leaving an Goodreads review at the end the serialisation. The full book will be available on your Pigeonhole bookshelf for one month for you to read at your leisure. 

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Beautiful extras in the margins immerse you in the world of each book.

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