Good Book Noise.
Seriously, I remember reading The Governess Affair and not liking Serena’s sister Freddy. Mostly because she was The Load, but also because she and I have this thing in common. This embarrassing thing. That I’m sharing on the internet.
Freddy has horrifyingly intense agoraphobia. She cannot leave her rooms. Her daily exercise is to walk around them. When Hugo used the threat of kicking Serena and her sister out of their home to get his way, he did not know that this was crossing the line labelled Don’t Use Nuclear Weapons. Faced with being forced out, Freddy’s Bitch Mode turned on.
I disliked her for it. Because I understood it. About when I was early-days pregnant, I fell into this scary rut of not driving, and not really going anywhere. It has worsened as my anxiety has worsened, in a nasty cycle that actually resulted in my consulting my GP. I’m not so much afraid of leaving home, as I am afraid of my home being invaded. Freddy scares me because I don’t want to end up like that.
She comes into the picture again, in a bigger way than I expected, in the second book, The Heiress Effect. This may be my favourite book ever, as in I would re-read it on the same level as Going Postal if given the chance. (maybe even as many times as Redwall, which is crazy because my reread count on that is literally innumerable) Part of the reason is certainly because of the part Freddy has in the story.
Spoilers to follow.
Little seeds are scattered throughout. First, there are these terribly cheesy novels that the heroine’s sister reads because she is forced to stay indoors all the time. There are twenty or thirty of them. The heroine, Jane, suspects/assumes that the books are written by more than one person (probably men) because there are so many and they come out so quickly. She says as much to Oliver (the hero) while still telling him that they’re fun if not high-brow, and he buys the first one.
Later, he sees a long-running argument between his sister and Aunt Freddy regarding the latter’s refusal (read: inability) to go outside. Although the sister refuses to capitulate, Aunt Freddy confesses to Oliver that she’s right, and poor Aunt Freddy is determined to walk the hell out of that park someday. That’ll show her.
Unfortunately, Freddy dies before she can reach that someday in the park. Her will is read, and at first it seems that she left that argumentative sister out of the will–until everyone shuts up and listens. She attributes a grand adventure to the sister, and leaves the proceeds to her.
Aunt Freddy’s grand adventure was to write the whole series of adventurous books. They were completed and released so quickly because she spent all of her time at home.
Just reading Oliver’s realisation of the fact that this book had been in his possession (he hadn’t opened it until after Freddy’s death) and that his aunt had found some way to get out, and that way was writing…. I want to just say, “oh the feels” and leave it at that.
Because this may be my own blog, and I don’t think I know many of the people who read it, or if they actually truly do… but some things, you just don’t tell above one person in your life.
I’m going to go talk to him about this now. My for-reals review of the book will have to wait until tomorrow.