Love and Freedom (by Sue Moorcroft)

I absolutely loved the first book I read by Sue Moorcroft, many years ago now. And although none of her other novels have been as brilliant as that one, I’ve enjoyed most of the ones I’ve read, on the whole, although I don’t much like the raunchy scenes that seem to be required in novels published by ‘ChocLit’. However, when I saw this one available inexpensively for my Kindle some years ago, I went ahead and bought it, even though I generally only collect free ebooks.

Apparently it was in October 2011 that I bought ‘Love and Freedom’ so it’s taken me four and a half years to read it, but I decided it would be a good book to start on a coach journey, and I then completed it on an aeroplane. The characters were memorable and it did not require too much concentration.

The story is about Honor, a young American woman who has decided to try and find her mother’s family in the South of England. She’s left her home rather abruptly, after a major problem with her husband, and we only learn gradually about her father and step-family back in the US; she’s evidently quite close to them all.

The opening scene sees Honor rescued from sunstroke by the handsome Martyn, who is related not just to Honor’s landlady but also to the local doctor, and a couple of other prominent women in the village where she’s staying. Martyn is a good handyman, but apparently only works a few hours each week; Honor, new to the country and struggling to understand the British way of thinking, makes a lot of assumptions, some of which turn out to be more accurate than others.

It’s a story of discovery, and of the inevitable relationship that develops between these two people: prickly at first, fraught with misunderstandings, and then a growing friendship. It’s no spoiler to say this, as this style of women’s romantic fiction follows this pattern in the majority of cases.

Sue Moorcroft creates three dimensional and believable people, and while some of her minor caricatures were rather stereotyped, I liked the two main protagonists, and also the teenage boy Rufus who is badly bullied at school, and whose bohemian (and often downright weird) mother makes life difficult for Martyn as well as her son.

The places were nicely painted, the British/American misunderstandings believable, and I was enjoying the story, although disappointed at the amount of bad language. Then suddenly the bedroom scenes start, with too much detail, and unrealistic regularity. The author’s otherwise excellent style of writing does not suit this kind of thing, and I had to skip forward to reach the more interesting parts of the book.

The ending took a direction I wasn’t expecting, revealing more about Honor’s past and also her marriage, and then eventually leading to the expected and satisfactory conclusion.

Overall I liked this book, and am glad I read it; but don’t feel that I can recommend it to friends due to the ‘adult’ nature of so much of the language and the detailed bedroom scenes later in the book.

Available in paperback form as well as on Kindle, though not currently in print in the United States.

Review by copyright 2016 Sue's Book Reviews

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