Book Review: Free Love — by Tessa Hadley


Phyllis Fischer, who possessed an “expectant and lively prettiness”, and the atmosphere, a “pregnant warm light [that] seemed dense and suspenseful as amber,” enter together in the first pages of this tender and easy novel, the setting steeped in the beauty of a late summer evening in 1990s Britain. 1960. Phyllis hosts a dinner party at the suburban home she shares with her husband, Roger, and their two children, Colette and Hugh. The dinner guest, Nicky Knight, arrives more than an hour late, in fact he hadn’t wanted to come, and had stopped in a pub, almost forgetting that his parents’ old friends were waiting. The ensuing events of the evening, which begin as a most awkward social gathering, quickly turn into the book’s first, and perhaps most important, twist. The world is perched on a precipice of change, and Phyllis, with a moment of wild abandon which then becomes her fervent wish, boldly ventures into it, unafraid to expose her naivety, unafraid to leave behind the mind-numbing routines of her current life. her without regret. What follows is a multi-layered, comedic and heartfelt story of growing up, dealing with the consequences of the choices we make, and living with no regrets.

— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons. Connect with her on Instagram @jennysbookshop to find more great book reviews and recommendations. Look for these titles and more at your local bookstore.

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