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Pub Date 02 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 10 Sep 2021

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Readers are dotty about Freckles – discover this 5-star read: ‘Wow’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Heartwarming’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Uplifting’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Thought-provoking’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐’One of those rare, special and unique heroines’⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A joy to read’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Shortlisted for the 2021 An Post Irish Book Awards

Sometimes the people who have the power to change your life are the ones who have been there all along…

Like stars in the dark skies above the tiny island where she grew up, freckles scatter Allegra Bird’s arms, a link to her beloved father. She’s never known her mother.

In a quest to find the one thing she’s missing she begins a bold new life in Dublin. But she’s left a lot behind.

So when a stranger tells her she’s the sum of five people – the five people she spends the most time with – she’s suddenly no longer seeking one person. She’s looking for five.

And the truth lies in unexpected places…

Life-affirming, beautiful and thought-provoking, Freckles is an unforgettable novel of five people, five chances and one woman’s search for happiness.

‘A heart-warming story about loneliness and connectionDaily Mail

‘An endearing story of human frailty, connection and growth’ Irish Independent
‘A warm and bittersweet tale about finding yourself through family and friendship’ Sunday Telegraph
‘A moving story, absorbing characters, engaging writing, and as much of a page-turner as you’d expect from a bestselling novelist’’
Irish Times
’Cecelia Ahern never follows the crowd and her latest novel is a delight – funny, thought-provoking and original’ Mirror
‘Warmly smart and astute story’ Independent
‘Ahern was born to write and her books born to be read by all’ My Weekly
‘Asking boldly what and who make us who we are, Freckles manages to team wit and wisdom harmoniously’ Echo

Readers are dotty about Freckles – discover this 5-star read: ‘Wow’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Heartwarming’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Uplifting’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘Thought-provoking’ ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐’One of those rare, special and unique heroines’⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ ‘A joy...

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ISBN 9780008194932
PRICE £12.99 (GBP)

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Featured Reviews

Allegra (Freckles) made the big move to Dublin, from her small and isolated home for one reason...and we don't find out what this reason is straight off, so I am not going to share that with you here either.

What I can say, is that this new life, in this new city is not quite what she expected. She didn't get the job she wanted, she's living above a home gym in a family's backyard, she hasn't made any friends, and she has not done the one thing she moved to Dublin to do. To top it all off, a disgruntled recipient of one of her parking tickets (that's right, Allegra is a parking inspector) becomes abusive, calls her a loser and throws the statement at her that she is 'the average of the five people she spends most time with'.

At first, she is hurt, angry and humiliated, but then she starts to question who are her 5 people, and worse...what if she doesn't even have 5 people?

I feel that the author has given us full access to the character of Allegra (Freckles), we see the good and also the bad, she is fully exposed to the reader. This can make it hard to read when you can see Allegra struggling in social situations or making cringeworthy decisions, but on the flip side it feels like a privilege that we get to see those sides of her, to see that she is human.

I was expecting something lighter, maybe with a few laughs, but it's not that at all. This is a very poignant story, that will make you stop and think about your own five people.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers Australia for the opportunity to read a review copy of this title.

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Thank you NetGalley and HarperCollins Australia for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Allegra Bird, nicknamed Freckles, thrives on routine and is often left confused human behaviors and interactions. After someone angrily tells her that she is a loser because she surrounds herself with losers ("you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with"), she sets out to discover her "five" and believes they will put her on a path of empowerment, happiness, and self-improvement.

There was such emphasis on her "constellation" in the early part of the book, that I was surprised at how little importance it was given throughout the rest of the story, other than what felt like a haphazard mention. Another (very minor!) dislike was how disorganized, or maybe elusive, Allegra was about Ruth Brasil's visit. Given how methodical she was about everything, I was surprised Allegra wasn't constantly following-up with Ruth's office until the visit was 100% confirmed.

I liked the flashbacks to Allegra's boarding school days, and the miscellaneous village characters she sees on her rounds. This book has humor, though I did wonder if Allegra was autistic making some of the humor at her expense for not "understanding" those around her. However, this was a very enjoyable read.

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Freckles was absolutely heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting and beautiful.

Allegra’s life is not exactly perfect. Her mother abandoned her as a child, her dream of joining the Garda has been dashed, and the only constant in her life, her father, is taking his eccentricity to a whole new level. Now working as a parking warden, she encounters an irate member of the public she’s ticketed. He tells her, as an insult, that she is the average of the five people she spends the most time with. And so the rest of the book follows Allegra striving to improve her life by ensuring her five are honourable and worthy.

I’ve never read any of Ahern’s other books but her style with this one was captivating. Her descriptive passages were finely detailed and showed some serious skills. When I am mesmerised by everyday actions such as washing hair or eating lunch on a bench, you know the girl can write. Told from Allegra’s first person point of view, Ahern also dispenses with quotation marks and this, for me, just added another layer of intimacy.

The Irish setting is wonderful and realistic and surely everyone will want to visit Valentia Island after reading Freckles.

Allegra’s not the easiest person to like at times. I would assume, although it is not specifically said, she is on the autism spectrum. However, without spoiling, Allegra is used, abused and let down so many times, I just prayed there would be some sort of happy ending eventually. On that score, I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say Ahern includes a lovely romance for Allegra. If you’re not a romance fan, fear not, as it’s not the entire focus of the plot. Instead, it’s the strength of family and unexpected friendships which make the book so special.

I must also mention that Freckles features a lot of topical themes, diversity and contemporary attitudes. For me, it was everything I hoped Normal People would be but wasn’t. Highly recommended 5 out of 5

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This was an absolute gem of a novel. I’ve always enjoyed Cecelia Ahern’s novels, so I was expecting a good read but even taking that into consideration, I was still surprised by how much I loved this novel. Meet Allegra Bird, twenty-three years old, working in Dublin as a parking warden. She lives in a flat above a gym in the backyard of a power couple’s mansion, gets her breakfast from the same bakery each day, eats the same packed lunch on the same bench each day, and walks the same beat each day. And for the past fortnight, she has also been giving the same person multiple parking fines each day. Enter Tristan, YouTube entrepreneur. When he catches Allegra issuing him with yet another fine after a fortnight of multiple fines each day, he loses his temper, tears the ticket up in her face and says to her:

‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’

And more specifically, that her five people must be losers because that’s what she is. This gets into Allegra’s head, and she can’t shake it out. Not his aggression, or the tearing up of the ticket, not even him calling her a loser, but the concept that she is the average of the five people she spends the most time with. Because she doesn’t know if she has five people. And thus begins Allegra’s mission to get her five.

Allegra is a character I really enjoyed spending time with. She takes her job incredibly seriously, cares deeply for her father and his well-being; she’s witty and intelligent, and despite thinking that she’s no good at reading people, she gets it right more often than not. But she has a gap inside of her and a burning urgency to fill it and she does so with empty encounters and meaningless associations. On her quest to find her five, Allegra neglects to recognise that her five are right in front of her and she eventually realises that people can be more than you give them credit for while others, no matter how much you wish otherwise, can be far less.

This novel is funny and sad in equal parts but ultimately uplifting and life affirming. It’s exactly the sort of fiction that many of us are seeking right now and I recommend it wholeheartedly. A few of Cecelia Ahern’s novels have been made into movies and I’d love to see this one adapted. It has a quality about it that would translate perfectly to the screen. If you’re looking for “ALL THE FEELS” from your reading presently, you won’t go wrong with Freckles.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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Moving from the small town to the big town, Allegra decides to find her 'tribe' and herself. This is a lovely book. enjoyable and one I recommend. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The lead character of Cecilia Ahern’s latest novel is given the nickname Freckles for obvious reasons. Allegra doesn’t mind though. She loves her freckles and as a teenager drew links from one to another, mapping constellations.

In her mid 20s Allegra's working as a parking warden on the outskirts of Dublin. She tells us it was her dream to become a police officer but her application wasn't successful. She's... quirky and perhaps if diagnosed would be on the autism spectrum (or similar). She's details-focussed, a stickler for the rules and somewhat pedantic about her routines.

She's certainly irascible but Ahern's given her layer upon layer. Despite her rigidity for example, she's unpredictable and full of surprises. 

The book is very much centred around a turning point in Allegra's life. It actually is the offhand comment (mentioned in the blurb) by a young man angry at having received a parking ticket. Tristan rips up the ticket as he lashes out at Allegra suggesting that the five people she surrounds herself with would all be losers.

Whether what happens would have happened anyway we don't know, but Allegra is confronted by the idea that she really doesn't have 'five people' so decides to find inspirational people to connect with (and rub off on her obvs).

As one can imagine, it doesn't necessarily go as planned and letters to the likes of Amal Clooney and an Irish Olympian disappear into the ether.

At the same time she's grappling with her eccentric landlords, unusual part-time job and keeps running into Tristan who's trying to atone for his initial behaviour.

I loved Allegra's voice. Ahern delivers her narrative in a very conversational way reflecting her personality. There's a very 'matter of fact' tone to her writing that makes this very accessible and engaging.

"... maybe it's because of my mam's genes. She was a dancer, apparently. Or wanted to be one. That's how she met Pops, she was doing performing arts, he was a music professor. Maybe she got what she wanted for a while at least between wanting to be and not being. I hope for her she was. You wouldn't want to give up something for everything and end up with nothing. Quite unfair on the something." p 19

I very much enjoyed this book. There's a sense of whimsy or lightness in one sense, but it tackles some complex issues relating to relationships, friendships and aloneness. We’re reminded that our impressions of people may not always be correct, that people's personalities come in shades of grey and they can often surprise us.

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Thank you HarperCollins Publishers Australia and NetGalley for an ARC of this wonderful book.
Allegra aka Freckles lives a life heavily set in her solid routine. One day a comment through a work interaction completely shakes her and leads on a journey to locate her tribe of five.

I found myself completely enwrapped in Freckles life as she learned more about herself and who holds special place within her tribe, Freckles was such a like a likeable character, it was a joy to go along on her search as she uncovered a newer , truer version of her life.
A lovely feel good read which I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend.

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