My Book World
This novel, full of twists and turns, could perhaps, only have been written by a Brit—someone trained in reading and writing wordsmithing-worthy work. The plotting is superb. Characterization sparkling. Quinn gives readers the proper clues, subtle though they may be, and astute readers store them away and can say (or not), I knew it. I knew it was him. Two young women, the titular Freya and Nancy, meet at Oxford during WWII and develop a lasting friendship. But it is not an easy alliance. They both date the same Oxford boy who eventually marries his second choice of the two, Nancy. Freya realizes he is a scoundrel, but her friend can’t see it, not at first. There is a pattern of betrayal among these three characters, each deception crescendoing into a climax that may blow your bobby socks off. Spoiler: Only one false note seems to prevail and that is Freya, in the end, realizes she loves her friend, not in a platonic manner, but as a lover. This does not come out of nowhere; Quinn does subtly, perhaps too subtly, drop breadcrumb clues along the way, but there seems to be no inner struggle for Freya, no clues to the character herself that she could be a lesbian.
Others might argue that the author does inform. After all, Freya puts career ahead of all; she wishes not to marry (while having lots of sex with men) or have children; she blasts off into her life in any direction she wants with little regard for family or friends. She only has one other physical relationship with a woman, and it is in the context of a drunken orgy in which any woman might have sex with another woman. Again, very subtle. And perhaps it is as it should be. The period is late 1940s to late 1960s, a time of awakening, an explorative era in which women, even adventurous ones like Freya, may not know who they are inside and must be whacked up the side of the head by life itself to understand who they are.
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