I Couldn’t Love You More
An unforgettable novel of mothers and daughters, wives and muses, secrets and outright lies
‘Freud is a modern literary rarity: a born storyteller’ THE TIMES
‘Such a powerful book’ RICHARD CURTIS
‘Delivers an emotional punch that left me in tears’ RACHEL JOYCE
‘Utterly compelling’ HANNAH ROTHSCHILD
‘I couldn’t love it more’ POLLY SAMSON
‘I loved this book’ AMANDA CRAIG
‘Completely, inspiringly wonderful’ BARBARA TRAPIDO
‘Breathtakingly beautiful’ JULIET NICOLSON
AN EVENING STANDARD BOOK OF 2021
Rosaleen is still a teenager, in the early Sixties, when she meets the famous sculptor Felix Lichtman. Felix is dangerous, bohemian, everything she dreamed of in the cold nights at her Catholic boarding school. And at first their life together is glitteringly romantic – drinking in Soho, journeying to Marseilles. But it’s not long before Rosaleen finds herself fearfully, unexpectedly alone. Desperate, she seeks help from the only source she knows, the local priest, and is directed across the sea to Ireland on a journey that will seal her fate.
Kate lives in Nineties London, stumbling through her unhappy marriage. But something has begun to stir in her. Close to breaking point, she sets off on a journey of her own, not knowing what she hopes to find.
Aoife sits at her husband’s bedside as he lies dying, and tells him the story of their marriage. But there is a crucial part of the story missing and time is running out. Aoife needs to know: what became of Rosaleen?
Spanning three generations of women, I Couldn’t Love You More is an unforgettable novel about love, motherhood, secrets and betrayal – and how only the truth can set us free.
Freud's book unpicks the promise of liberation - who enjoys it, who pays the price ...The sharp intimacy of the writing is ... full of compassion and a profound decency * SUNDAY TIMES * I devoured it in two sittings, hungrily and impatient for more ... A loving tale of motherhood through the ages while taking in how badly women have been treated simply for being women. You will weep with happiness and sadness -- EMMA BARNETT Hits that tricky sweet spot between commercial and literary fiction ... Freud's darting, impressionistic prose is full of riches * THE TIMES * Heart-breaking ... Shrewd yet tender, stirring as well as harrowing, it's a tragic saga that nonetheless keeps the door ajar for redemption * DAILY MAIL * A tender portrait of three women carrying trauma, pain and the emotional weight of their respective relationships ... Freud's prose is bridled and poignant ... Devastating * IRISH EXAMINER * I Couldn't Love You More is completely, inspiringly wonderful. I read it non-stop through the night, finding myself simultaneously uplifted and wrung out by the emotional power of the story and by its ambitious social and historical range. It couldn't be better -- BARBARA TRAPIDO This is such a powerful book - it unravels a deep tragedy in three miraculously entwined stories, in three different times, mothers and daughters linked by sorrow and love. It's a gently told story of harsh, harsh events - a mystery story of separation and sorrow that is finally resolved with truth and warmth, but with no punches pulled. It's a book about shame and the evil men do, but also about strength and the possibility of salvation in the face of one of the great scandals of the last century -- RICHARD CURTIS This exquisite family saga reads as a love letter between four generations of women. Everything is here; family ghosts, the bond between mothers and daughters, cruelty, endurance, the difficulty of love, and a faith in the possibility of healing - even after years of separation. This tender, elegant book delivers an emotional punch that left me in tears -- RACHEL JOYCE A new Esther Freud novel is always such a treat and I couldn't love this one more -- POLLY SAMSON Beautiful, moving, wonderful ... Let me be the first (but not the last) to say I couldn't love it more -- SAM BAKER A memorable read with some lessons to be learned * SUNDAY INDEPENDENT * A beautiful and quietly powerful novel of cruelty, humanity and love * BUSINESS POST * In this fascinating novel, Freud interweaves the stories of a daughter, mother and grandmother to show how past hurts and dreams drip down through generations. The women's characters and circumstances are beautifully evoked as are their struggles not to be defined by men or convention. Freud knits their plights together to create an utterly readable and compelling narrative -- HANNAH ROTHSCHILD Freud is a consummate novelist. Her research is always thorough (in this one intensely imagined and vividly observed), her characters alive ... her story page-turning, complex and emotionally satisfying * SPECTATOR * I love this book. It feels like the novel Esther Freud has been waiting to write her whole life. The tenderness of the mother-daughter bond, the cruelties and prejudice of old Ireland, the vitality of 1960s London all beautifully realised -- AMANDA CRAIG I hugely enjoyed it. She is such a compelling writer, so good at evoking atmosphere -- LYNN BARBER A breathtakingly beautiful book, a story of absolutely vivid originality but also one that addresses those fundamental complexities that ripple through human life, transcendent of time and of place and repeated through generations at whatever age -- JULIET NICOLSON I loved it. I loved its ambition and the dexterity with which it was done, it's poignancy and truth. I hope it does brilliantly -- ELIZABETH BUCHAN Freud is a modern literary rarity: a born storyteller, poetic but never overwrought; thoughtful but never showy * THE TIMES * As close to a perfect novel as anything I've read in a long time -- ANN PATCHETT Full of pitch-perfect observation, spiced with wry humour * OBSERVER * You know how it is when a writer draws into a place and you begin to feel it is more substantial than the one around you? That is how this book was for me. I truly loved it -- RACHEL JOYCE In a culture which dins with brashness and self-advertisement, attending to Esther Freud's still, truthful voice becomes not only a pleasure but a necessity -- JONATHAN COE A highly talented writer * INDEPENDENT * A superbly gifted writer ... Freud creates relationships so fraught and delicate that at times the characters can hardly bear to examine them ... She explores them with a dazzling clarity that reveals her true, writer's calling * NEW YORK TIMES * A consummate novelist ... Intensely imagined and vividly observed ... Page-turning, complex and emotionally satisfying * SPECTATOR * Every bit as much as a whodunnit or a thriller, but with no genre cliches or conventions to obey, just the emotional logic of the book. Which is heart-rending and devastating and wonderful and uniquely gripping. And on the micro level, the quality of the writing - the words, the sentences - is flawlessly good -- HARRY RITCHIE A powerful meditation on love and betrayal, motherhood, human vulnerability and resilience, secrets, disappointment and loss * LADY * Freud takes a kaleidoscopic approach to storytelling, shifting time frames and points of view ... Freud brings empathy to the story, her own mother having escaped this fate -- Bridie Pritchard * The i *
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