Once again Anthony Quinn shows himself a master at writing fiction that works on every level.
London, May 1945. Freya Wyley, 20, meets Nancy Holdaway, 18, amid the wild celebrations of VE Day, the prelude to a devoted and competitive friendship that will endure on and off for the next two decades. Freya, wilful, ambitious, outspoken, pursues a career in newspapers, which the chauvinism of Fleet Street and her own impatience conspire to thwart, while Nancy, gentler, less self-confident, struggles to get her first novel published.
Both friends become entangled at university with Robert Cosway, a charismatic young man whose own ambition will have a momentous bearing on their lives. Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman's life and loves against a backdrop of Soho pornographers, theatrical peacocks, willowy models, priapic painters, homophobic blackmailers, and political careerists.
Beneath the relentless thrum of changing times and a city being reshaped, we glimpse the eternal: the battles fought by women in pursuit of independence, the intimate mysteries of the human heart, and the search for love. Stretching from the Nuremberg war trials to the advent of the TV celebrity, from innocence abroad to bitter experience at home, Freya presents the portrait of an extraordinary woman taking arms against a sea of political and personal tumult.
©2016 Anthony Quinn (P)2016 Bolinda
I would highly recommend this beautifully woven story. Quinn creates such beautiful characters I wish we had time to get to know all of them.
Heard about this via Simon Mayo's book club, not always reliable for my tastes and did think it might be chick-lit-y (despite a male author). The characters, though, are beautifully drawn, particularly that of Freya herself, wonderfully self-confident though flawed, and those who surround and pass through her life. I cared about Freya, her ambitions and life and shed a tear at the (happy) end.
Characters and story so fascinating that I dreaded the end of the audiobook. Wonderful evocation of London in the 50's and 60's, very well narrated. This was my first Anthony Quinn, will download the rest of his work.
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