Thursday, November 25, 2010
Elfrida Swann, known to everyone as Freddie, is about to marry Alex. Preparations for the great day - service at Westminster, reception at Claridges - are on schedule; the bridesmaids' bouquets made up; the cake decorated. Then Freddie decides that she cannot go through with it. Unable to face the indignation and fury of Alex, her parents, or anyone else, she flees to a friend's cottage in Dorset. At first sight its state of dilapidation is so extreme that Freddie decides she cannot possibly stay there. But she has reckoned without the attentions of Guy Gilderoy; the culinary delights of the Rector and his wife; a family of neglected children; and the primitive and secret shrines she finds in her garden. In her attempts to make sense of her new life, Freddie discovers much about herself that is surprising as the ghosts of her childhood are laid to rest.
I have gone on a British chick-lit kick of late and this is one of the delightful books I've come across during this phase. I have another book by the same author that I'm looking quite forward to getting to read.
Freddie is a charming but flawed heroine adrift in a world of equally charming predators and new-found friends. As she flees her fiancee, who is later revealed to be an abuser, and the ghosts of her unhappy childhood, Freddie discovers that she is MORE than capable of fending for herself, it's ok to offer and accept help, and that charm isn't everything. There's romance, heartbreak, and mystery throughout the novel. Some of the romances are easy to spot in the making, one might surprise the reader a bit, but everything works out happily (but not tidily) in the end.