The Frequency of Us

Dear Reader,

Another buddy read in the bag only this time with a little twist…a three-way buddy read! Thank you to my good friend and fellow book blogger Lucy (Lucy @ Bookworm Blogger) and also to my lovely Mum for being my reading companions on this literary adventure. We all thoroughly enjoyed joining Laura in her journey to uncovering Will and Elsa’s wartime story. Plenty of frantic reading and wild guesses about potential plot twists – that’s what shared reading is all about right?! 🙂

The Frequency of Us by Keith Stuart

In Second World War Bath, young, naive wireless engineer Will meets Austrian refugee Elsa Klein: she is sophisticated, witty and worldly, and at last his life seems to make sense . . . until, soon after, the newly married couple’s home is bombed, and Will awakes from the wreckage to find himself alone. 

No one has heard of Elsa Klein. They say he was never married.

Seventy years later, social worker Laura is battling her way out of depression and off medication. Her new case is a strange, isolated old man whose house hasn’t changed since the war. A man who insists his wife vanished many, many years before. Everyone thinks he’s suffering dementia. But Laura begins to suspect otherwise . . .

***

A wonderfully compelling read! Contemporary fiction that masterfully blends historical details, a timeless romance and hints of the supernatural. Although, I feel reserved about using that word to describe the events – to me it was more of a messing-with-time/elements-of-time-travel-vibe…think The Time Travellers Wife… but much better! Some of the elements of the story seemed like they would take a dark supernatural twist and spoil the story but ultimately didn’t – no spoilers I promise! That being said, I was fascinated by the dabble in multiverse theory, only I prefer it in hindsight as I know where the story went and that the ending was well achieved. There were points while reading where I wondered if this theory would be used to explain-away/brush-off certain elements of the story… my advice: persevere. They don’t. And my goodness is it worth it!

Stuart has worked so hard to recreate wartime Bath in words and it was fantastic. Bath itself is very familiar to me but his writing was so vivid I felt as if I could see every brick. I loved the facts and and details about vintage radios, music and art history/architecture. I especially enjoyed the wartime narrative which absolutely glowed – so immersive. The characters were incredibly three-dimensional and their interwoven stories were utterly compelling! The relationship between Laura and her Dad was very cleverly nuanced and the cross-generational relationship between Laura and Will was sensitively told, each of them growing as characters throughout. Laura was a clever character – unlovable in many ways but you are fully invested in things working out for her. Also by writing a character suffering with anxiety and depression there were moments for identification with her feelings. We all suffer from these things in our own ways – big and small. This really helps the reader to connect with her. Will and Elsa’s romance was so beautiful – I was rooting for them the whole way.

Romantic but fizzing with history, experience, and culture. Highly recommend!

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this brilliant book through Net Galley in exchange for my honest review – so my thanks goes to them, the publishers Little, Brown Book Group (UK), and the author Keith Stuart.

Meg xx

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