My book from the shelf this month has been sitting around since 2016, and I was originally drawn to it by the beauty of its cover. Just why it has stayed on my shelf for so long is a mystery, as I can remember being fond of this author's previous work, and in particular, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, was a personal favourite when it was published in 2005.
Love Notes for Freddie starts off in the cloistered atmosphere of an all-girls boarding school and tells of an unlikely encounter between studious, Marnie Fitzpatrick and the more wayward, Rachel Porter. The two girls couldn't be more different and so when something happens which causes both girls to be expelled from St Libbys, there is no-one more shocked than Marnie's maths teacher, Julie Crewe, who had expected Marnie to go on to a brilliant career in mathematics.
Suddenly, Marnie feels that her life is ruined, that is, until she meets and becomes romantically obsessed with the quirkily named, Freddie Friday, a young man who has the potential to rise above his humble upbringing to become a dancer.
The story is told in two distinct voices, that of Marnie and her obsession with Freddie, and also that of Miss Crewe, who we learn once had a dream to be a dancer, and through their insightful narratives, a story emerges of the sadness caused by lost dreams and the pain of first love.
Love Notes for Freddie is a lovely coming of age story which emphasises the idea that we should never give up on our dreams. The author writes well and gives such an authentic voice to the characters that they literally leap off the pages. I enjoyed getting to know Marnie, Freddie and Julie and watched with interest as their stories started to merge in such a tender and realistic way.
Overall, what comes across in Love Notes for Freddie is the idea that love can break down barriers and that everyone should allowed to have a second chance and that with perseverance and hard work, dreams are there for the taking.