Rumours by Freya North

What I learned from… ‘Rumours’ by Freya North

Rumours by Freya NorthAbout the book

Rumour has it that Stella Hutton landed her new estate agent job thanks to family connections. She’s guarded about her past and private about her new life.

Over in Long Dansbury, there’s always a rumour circulating about Xander – but the eligible bachelor shrugs off village gossip.

Then a rumour starts that Longbridge Hall is up for sale. Home to the eccentric Fortescues, it has dominated Long Dansbury lives for centuries.

Stella is summoned to sell the estate. But Xander grew up there. His secrets and memories are not for sale. He’ll do anything to stand in Stella’s way. Anything but fall in love.

What I learned

This is the first Freya North book I’ve read, and I was immediately struck by the seamless way she embeds you in the world of the story from the first page. It’s a comfortable world, and I loved being there. There was no sense that the tone was going to shift alarmingly and a maniac was about to leap out of a bush with a chainsaw, and for that I was grateful.

The omniscient narration is close, but without the jarring head-hopping effect when it’s not used well. Even in scenes where (spoiler alert) Stella and Xander are tentatively embarking on their relationship, North uses the narration to effectively show each side of flirtation, building effectively to an, ahem, climax.

“It’s his home,” he told Will, whilst looking at Stella accusingly. “He’s very old.”

Stella thought, don’t you look at me, you with your dark stare. But she couldn’t say anything. And she couldn’t look away.

Even the use of filtering words like ‘thought’ throughout the book don’t have the distancing effect I expected them to. I was so embedded in the world, I was quite happy to be an observer, and be reminded of my observation, even when Stella and Xander are getting close to ‘doing it’ (I’m currently trying to overcome my fear of written sex. Or written by me at least). Strangely, I felt that seeing both sides of their, ahem, lovemaking (already I can’t find adequate words to describe coitus. No, not that one either) made the scene work more effectively.

I think the biggest success of the book is the world North creates, which I carried with me even when I’d finished reading. It made me want to dive back into the world, and crucially, to read more from Freya North.

More about this book

Published in 2012 by HarperFiction

Rumours at Harper Collins

Freya North on X

About ‘What I learned…’

I read anything and everything and think there’s writing inspiration to take from from books of every genre.

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