I finished reading Freya by Anthony Quinn at 3am this morning, and the reason why is quite simple; it reached the stage of the story where I couldn't bear to put it down and go to sleep without knowing how it ended.
The start was nostalgic and wonderfully so.. Freya was 20 and it was VE Day, she had come home to celebrate after serving in the Wrens during the war. London hadn't even begun rebuilding, but that day was when the building blocks of the rest of Freya's life were laid.
We follow as Freya and her best friend Nancy both head off to university, as the reader we cringe as they make some horrendous mistakes and experience some stomach-turning things. It's here we meet many of the characters who become a main-stay during the rest of the novel. I have to admit, I fell completely in love with Nat Fane from the start (read the book and maybe you'll see why)!
After university they move to London.. relationships, housing, jobs all play starring roles in this part of the performance, and although it's set decades ago many of the issues faced still ring true today.
The story of Freya features love, loss, friendship, sexuality (which was viewed very differently in the 60s), loyalty, politics, war, blackmail, sexism and everything else inbetween!
To put it simply; I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book. It is ingrained in my mind, the people you meet within it will stay with me as long as Mr Darcy and Jane Eyre.. the latter of which is my favourite book so that's high praise from me.
I'm a liberal through and through, so I find much of the torment faced by the characters in this story truly heartbreaking. I want to scoop them up, carry them forward 50 odd years and say "look it's better now, not perfect, but better". And that's what they fought for wasn't it? It's why gay men and women went to jail, it's why women decided that enough was enough and they didn't want to stay at home with the children all day, it's why single mothers stood up and said "I'm fine on my own, thank you." It was a different time, with different expectations, but Anthony Quinn makes you feel as though you are right there, experiencing it all with them.
I could write about this book for hours on end, but then there wouldn't be much left for you to find out by reading it yourself, so I'm not going to! But I will tell you that you should read this book, it will stay with you for a very long time.
Freya by Anthony Quinn is out now (it was published today) and you can purchase from Amazon or your local independent bookstore.
It's not often I end a review feeling that there is so much more I want to say, but I'm not sure I could ever say enough about Freya. Sometimes a book changes you, this book has changed me.
If you decide to read Freya, I'd love it if you dropped me a comment with your thoughts.
Stay safe, x