"Freya, ambitious and outspoken, pursues a career on Fleet Street while Nancy, less self-confident, struggles to get her first novel published. Both friends become entangled with Robert Cosway, a charismatic young man whose own ambition will have a momentous bearing on their lives.
Flitting from war-haunted Oxford to the bright new shallows of the 1960s, Freya plots the unpredictable course of a woman’s life and loves in extraordinary times."
Freya is a novel sweeping from the end of WWII to the 1960s. Captivating. The sort of old-fashioned book we don't get anymore, with a heroine full of flaws and so believable.
Freya, daughter of a Society portrait artist, leaves the WRNS for Oxford where she meets the friends that will shape her life - some to the better, others to the worse. There's the ambitious future MP, the potential diplomat, and the talented authoress, Nancy. Of course, they are all privileged, but it does not make the moral dilemmas any less interesting.
Freya is blunt, she alienates people, but she fights for what is right and struggles as a woman in journalism in the '50s and '60s. The novel explores the times to perfection - the changes in values, attitudes to homosexuality, how women fought to be recognised and the morals of politics.
It is all beautifully done and for once - in period. We don't get the story through modern eyes as we do with so many of today's writers.
I'm off to get all Quinn's books - just a wonder.
© Jeffrey Manton
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