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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.

From Tessa Hadley, best-selling author of Late in the Day and The Past, comes a compulsive new novel about one woman's sexual and intellectual awakening in 1960s London.

1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability: pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis is married to Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. Their children are Colette, a bookish teenager, and Hugh, the golden boy.

But when the 20-something son of an old friend pays the Fischers a visit one hot summer evening, and kisses Phyllis in the dark garden after dinner, something in her catches fire. Newly awake to the world, Phyllis makes a choice that defies all expectations of her as a wife and a mother. Nothing in these ordinary lives is so ordinary after all, it turns out, as the family's upheaval mirrors the dramatic transformation of the society around them.

With scalpel-sharp insight, Tessa Hadley explores her characters' inner worlds, laying bare their fears and longings. Daring and sensual, Free Love is a compulsive, irresistible exploration of romantic love, sexual freedom and living out the truest and most meaningful version of our lives.

©2022 Tessa Hadley (P)2022 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"She has such great psychological insights into human beings, which is rare. She is one of the best fiction writers writing today." (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

"Tessa Hadley recruits admirers with each book. She writes with authority, and with delicacy: she explores nuance, but speaks plainly; she is one of those writers a reader trusts." (Hilary Mantel)

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I chose this book based on the raving reviews

it received. I quite enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of Ladbroke Grove in the late 60s once we get there. The moral dilemmas of petty bourgois suburbans and their views in the sixties are irrelevant these days. The family twist felt contrived and rather blown up to larger proportions than it would have deserved. Some of the characters are unrealistic. I didn't mind finishing it, it was pleasant enough easy listening but the raving reviews are a mystery to me. A disappointment.
Love Abigail Thaw's voice but while a bad reader can ruin a good book, a great reader can't save a mediocre one.