Love Notes for Freddie is the third book by Eva Rice that I’ve read. I have previously really enjoyed The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets and The Misinterpratation of Tara Jupp, so I was really excited to give her latest novel a read. Love Notes to Freddie is set at the end of the 1960s, and tells the story of Marnie a school girl and her teacher Miss Crewe. When Marnie is expelled from her private boarding school, the events that follow are completely unexpected and have a huge impact on everyone around her.
The book is beautifully written and this follows the same coming of age theme as Rice’s other novels. The main character Marnie is really easy to like. She is a model student, who makes one mistake that sends her life in a completely unexpected direction. I really enjoyed the subtle changes in her behaviour as the book went on. Her feelings are written realistically and she is one of my favourite heroines from a book in a long time.
The characters are deeply complex and the way their personalities are explored throughout the book is stunning. The relationships within the book are all unpredictable and very engaging. The development of Marnie’s feelings towards Freddie, a boy she meets early in the book are one of my favourite parts of the book. The ongoing battles between love and friendship really do come out in each and every character.
Miss Crewe has a really interesting past, which comes out more as the book progresses. She is a brilliant guide for the other characters and her back story is definitely one of my favourite things from the book. I would love to read a book just about her.
Freddie starts the book as a simple character, with a normal everyday job. Further into the book he starts to embrace his talent and we find out more about his home life. He is the perfect love interest for Marnie’s character and in true Eva Rice style their relationship is neither obvious or predicable which I love.
The book is about overcoming tragedy and the way people cope with life shattering circumstances. This is explored through each character in different ways. As the book progresses you see younger characters begin to grow up and move on with their lives, often in unexpected ways. I loved how each of them found strength in each other to get past hurdles and develop as people. In the end you really see that good things can come from the worst situations. This isn’t just shown through the main characters but also in the relationships between Marnie’s family and through her friend Rachel.
Another strong theme in the book is fascination with another person, be it Marnie’s obsession with Freddie or Miss Crewes life long love for Joe, a mysterious man from her past. The book is full of unexpected plot twists, with flash backs to events of the past. Everything comes together at the end to give us a full picture of each of the characters lives and it makes for a very satisfying conclusion.
Being set in 1969, the book is full of cultural and musical references and pays perfect homage to a bygone era. I love the stark contrasts between Marnie’s upper class background and Freddie’s humble working class background. These differences seem all the more profound at first, but slowly they blend together and it works very well.
The book has plenty of depth and is imaginative and engaging. As with her other books the plot is complex and moving. It is intelligent and thoughtful and I came away from it completely connected with the story and the characters. If you’re looking for a really good quality novel to read, then I would definitely recommend this one.
Buy a copy of Love Notes for Freddie on Amazon.