Free Love: A Novel by Tessa Hadley


From Tessa Hadley, the bestselling author of Late in the Day and The Past—“one of the greatest stylists alive” (Washington Post)—an enthralling novel that skillfully portrays the dissolution of a family in 1960s England.

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“Tessa Hadley recruits admirers with each book. She writes with authority, and with delicacy: she explores nuance, but speaks plainly; she is one of those writers a reader trusts.”—Hilary Mantel

1967. While London comes alive with the new youth revolution, the suburban Fischer family seems to belong to an older world of conventional stability—pretty, dutiful homemaker Phyllis, bookish teenager Colette, golden boy Hugh, and Roger, a devoted father with a career in the Foreign Office. But when the young son of an old friend comes for dinner, and they all drink too much, and at some point in the dark garden the young man kisses Phyllis, something in this bourgeois housewife catches fire.

In Free Love Tessa Hadley turns her gaze to the intimate dynamic of a family transformed by betrayal. Hugh closes his mind against his mother, while Colette wants to follow her, in pursuit of her own adventure. And meanwhile there are secrets buried in Roger’s past which make Phyllis’s acts more entangling and threatening than she could ever have imagined. Nothing in these ordinary lives is so ordinary after all, it turns out, as the Fischers’ upheaval mirrors the dramatic transformation of the society around them. With scalpel-sharp insight, Hadley explores the depths of her characters’ interior lives, capturing “the fleeting emotion, the passing, indefinable perception or tiny epiphany” (Wall Street Journal).

Free Love: A Novel by Tessa Hadley