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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
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on 22 June 2014
I've been reading Freya North since Sally and I've devoured every book of hers. This, in my opinion, is the best one yet. I don't know if she counts as chick lit - it's always a debate - there are basically four female writers - JoJo Moyes, Marian Keyes, Lisa Jewell and Freya - who guarantee I will buy anything they write. Strong female writers, unforgettable characters and perfect page turners.

This book is beautiful and has at it's heart a wonderful trio of people - Jed, Oriana and Malachy. A little mystery, a little sadness, a lot of regret and a wonderful house. Like many of North's books, familiar faces from previous stories are also within and I had a joyful reunion with Cat McCabe and Django. I read it in 2 days and think I'm going to go back and read it again immediately.
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on 17 September 2015
I've been a fan of Freya North since her very first books and feel rather that I've grown up alongside her. The McCabe sisters will always be my favourite characters from her books so, when I realised this new book would afford a reunion with Cat and Django I was even keener to read and catch up with these characters.

As always with Freya North we are presented with various story strands as the main character, Oriana, is drawn back to her childhood home after years of living abroad and this brings back a range of memories which are skilfully interwoven into the present day. Oriana is drawn back to her childhood home and the people who inhabited it and taken on an unavoidable route to confronting her reasons for leaving there in the first place.

I loved the story. Windward, the shared home of the main characters is almost a character in it's own right and North writes so evocatively of their life together under one roof. Oriana is an engaging main character and I really rooted for her to get her happy ending. Recommended.
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on 20 June 2017
The Way Back Home by Freya North #bookreview (@freya_north) @HarperCollinsUK
june 18, 2017 by alittlebookproblem, posted in uncategorized

“One summer, something happened that changed everything forever…
Born and brought up in an artists’ commune in Derbyshire, Oriana Taylor had freedom at her fingertips in a home full of extraordinary people. The Bedwell brothers, Malachy and Jed, shared their childhood and adolescence with Oriana. In the rambling old house and tangled grounds, their dreams and desires could run free.

But too much freedom comes at a price. Something happened the summer they were fifteen. And now, having been gone eighteen years, Oriana is back.

This is their story.”

I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to get round to reading this book by Freya North. It was published in 2015 and, being a huge fan of Freya since I first read Sally and always buying her books on publication, it has been sitting on my TBR since then. I have read The Turning Point, which was published last year. I am wondering if I have been subconsciously pushing this down my TBR because of some unfavourable reviews it has been given on Goodreads. If so, it was a mistake – this is Freya North at her best. My apologies, Freya: after all the years we’ve spent together, I should have had more faith in you.

This is the story of Oriana, her childhood growing up in an artists’ colony in Derbyshire, her childhood friendship with two brothers, and the tragic event which drove them apart. Anyone expecting a light, sugar-sweet romance, or a psychological thriller with a twist in the tail would undoubtedly be disappointed in this book. It is neither of those things because that is not, and never has been, what Freya’s writing is about.

What this book is, is typical of Freya’s novels. It is a beautiful and honest portrayal of human emotion, human relationships and human failings. It is bittersweet, moving, genuine–and totally engrossing if you let yourself connect with these characters, who are damaged and far from perfect, but totally real and believable. One of the comments I have read was that people could not relate to the characters because they weren’t totally likeable, particularly Oriana. I think that is part of the genius of Freya’s work – making us care about characters who maybe aren’t immediately warm and cuddly and someone that you would want as a best friend, but are totally plausible and, if you give them time and try and see what Freya is showing you about why they are as they are, you will find that connection with their humanity.

This book is a slow burn, and it is an insight into the minds, thoughts and feelings of the three main protagonists. I guess some people may not appreciate this style of story-telling but it is what gives you that insight into, and connection with, their emotional story. I have seen complaints that the ‘twist’ is too obvious and there is no ‘big reveal’. I think that misses the point. I don’t believe Freya ever meant for the novel to be some big build up to a shocking conclusion, that isn’t her stock in trade. In fact, it is refreshing to read something currently that isn’t hingeing on that particular device to sell itself. This book requires a bit more effort, a bit more emotional involvement on the part of the reader to get the most from it.

I recently read a comment by the author Jane Green, in answer to a question she was asked about the best bit of writing advice she had ever been given. Her reply was that the best advice had been given to her by Freya North and it was to get to know her characters and let them tell the story. Freya obviously practices what she preaches as she writes people as well as, if not better, than almost any writer out there. Her characters are always totally three-dimensional and fully developed and, likeable or not, they are completely authentic in everything they do. And I have never known anyone write such honest sex scenes (although my friends took me to task for a long while after I made this comment and they then read the one involving clowns in Pip, but I stand by my assertion. And no, I won’t go into any more detail, you will have to go and buy it and read it yourselves!). You know these people. If you let yourself invest in their story, you will be rewarded with an intense emotional journey that will leave you wanting to know what happens to them but also not wanting the story to end.

I loved this book. It made me cry twice. It made me stay up until 1 am on a weeknight when I had to be up at 6.30 am the next day because I had to know the end. And it made me wish I had not left it so long before I read it. I can’t give a book higher praise than that. Go and read it immediately. Then read The Turning Point, because it’s even better.

Having read Freya’s work from the very beginning, I can see how it has matured as the years have passed, much as she and I have done (we are a similar age) and I cannot wait to see what is coming next.
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on 12 June 2017
I love Freya North's books an wasn't disappointed in this title. Couldn't put it down, very engrossing. Believable characters and excellent description. Another winner!
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on 14 April 2015
Great read definitely recommend
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on 15 June 2017
Great read and lovely story , highly recommend you read this story.
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on 21 January 2015
a good book and quick delivery
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on 28 April 2016
Took a while to get through this but I was spurred on by the promised twist...which I guessed. So there was no big shock reveal. The main character is hard to like as she wallows in self pity. Not much really happens as there is so much boring internal monologue and repetition. How many times do we need another nostalgic description of the house back in the day? This book just isn't worth the bother. Dull. Dull. Dull. If you want complex relationships and dark secrets others do this so much better.
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on 17 January 2015
Story disappointing, not up to previous standard
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on 16 September 2016
This ranks as one of the worst books I have ever read. It took me about a month to get through it - what a struggle! I can think of no redeeming features other than something made me persevere and see it through to the end. Although the story line was dire, the author writes well so I kept thinking that it would get better - but it didn't.
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