6 January 2022
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
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 twenty-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.
📖 My Review ..
Set initially in a quiet, leafy suburb of London we meet the Fischer family, Roger, Phyllis, Colette and Hugh who live a conventional, and unremarkable, life together, that is until homemaker, Phyllis becomes hopelessly infatuated with the son of a family friend. Nick Knight is twenty years her junior and his louche lifestyle is far removed from the middle class respectability which has stifled Phyllis's natural exuberance for far too long.
The setting is reminiscent of a bygone era and the ambiguous sexual morality of the 1960s is juxtaposed alongside the conventionality of middle class suburbia. The country was undergoing great changes, both socially and economically and it was, most certainly, a time of discovery and unconventionality, the old order was gone and a new 'free loving' generation was going forward.
Each of the central characters are superbly flawed, and, it must be said, rather difficult to like, so all credit to the author for creating a set of people who, despite their many faults, start to become more credible as the story unfolds. Clever, sophisticated, entirely absorbing, Free Love is Tessa Hadley writing at her absolute best.
Best Read with...a slice of pork terrine, and a glass or two of Mateus Rosé
About the Author
Tess Hadley is a British author who writes novels, short stories and non-fiction. She lives in Cardiff and teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, her special interests including Jane Austen, Henry James, Jean Rhys and Elizabeth Bowen.
Twitter #TessaHadley #FreeLove