Free Love

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🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2

Gorgeous, complex and tragic in its sweeping reach, this is a book about love, and ironically, (considering the title) its cost.

Set in 1967, in swinging volatile London, the world is changing and each of our protagonists cannot help but be affected.

Phyllis Fischer – a forty year old mother of two still sporting an “expected, animated prettiness” is not ready to face the inevitable decline of aging, the loss of her sexual appeal, and more immediately, the looming departure of her beautiful boy – her youngest son, Hugh, – to boarding school.

Roger Fischer, her husband, is an academic, a senior civil servant, a tidy and jowly man, striking in appearance, who projects an image of calm and steady contentedness with his life – an image that may or may not be somewhat contrived.

Colette Fischer, their daughter, is fifteen years old; a lonely tortured intellectual, plump and plain, who finds herself seething, as she hovers on the cusp of adulthood, with all the angst and bitterness that comes with finding no room for herself in the “slippery labyrinth of her mother’s mind”.

As tensions mount, an escalation occurs, and a perfect storm is cast into motion by time and place and the swirling hormones encapsulating the Fischer family.

Without giving the plot away (no spoilers here, you will have to read the book), the author’s lens is mesmerizing and unflinching – capturing the inescapable and unpredictable pull of love, between generations and across decades, freely and furtively given – and the inevitable, and sometimes catastrophic, emotional devastation left floundering in its trail.

A brilliant book, all-embracing in scope (and context…), with no easy answers for those caught up in the power of love – and those who find themselves left behind.

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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