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Freeman by Clare London

At first Freeman comes out like one of those characters from an old noir movie, a man tired of life with nothing or noone of important in his life, who tries to drown his sorrow in a glass of spirit. And so at first Freeman comes out also older and disenchanted; when he meets Kit, it's like an old lion with a young kitty, Freeman is all low growls that never turn in real danger, and Kit is like a burst of energy, like a bouncing ball that Freeman has no more the energy to follow. And so at first I didn't like Freeman, since Kit was obviously in danger and Freeman seemed to care but really he didn't do nothing to real help him: Kit entered and exited Freeman's house, and when he was there he was safe, but when he went out, we knew that he was in danger. We even witnessed to a very sad scene, through Freeman's eyes, and we had to turn the shoulders to that scene since Freeman turned them. It was not exactly what I would like to see from an "hero", but Freeman is not an usual hero.

In a way, Freeman did the right thing, since Kit is a runaway kid, and he is running away from being an adult. He has to mistake and he has to find the force to do the right thing, by himself, since only in that way he will grew. Kit is always ready to accuse Freeman to treat him like a kid, but probably Freeman is the only one who doesn't do that. You tell to a kid what to do, and instead you give to an adult all the elements to decide what to do; Freeman is doing so with Kit, he is making him take his choices. Only that, unfortunately, before taking them, he will have to go through a very bad period in his life.

Due to this, this novel has a very dark mood in it, a mood that will always remain, even when the things will turn good for Kit. I often associate the mood of the book to the weather, and even if it's not clearly said, I always felt, reading the book, as if it was a dark night, without moon, or a covered day, with the sun that never really managed to come out from the clouds. Actually the only sunny moments are those when Kit is in the room, since he seems to have an interior light that never goes out, even when he is kept under the thumb of an evil man. Maybe this difference in behavior, Kit so open and exposed, and Freeman instead so dark and mourning, gives that first impression of a greater age difference between them, when instead there are less than 10 years. There is another things that linked them but has a different evolution: of both Freeman than Kit we don't know the real name for a big part of the book (Kit is from kid), and in the end, we will know Kit real name, but not that of Freeman: we will know all of his past, even maybe the reason why he is called Freeman, but we will not know if Freeman is a real surname, if it is a nickname... till the end the dark behavior of Freeman will be confirmed as well as it will be the one more sunny of Kit.

There is quite an originality in the way the author deals with the development of Freeman; usually the normal development of a mourning hero is to find the "light" in the arms of his beloved. Here instead, Freeman doesn't radically change, he more or less, remains the same mysterious man, since the mourning him was not a consequence of a some bad experience in his past: from what we know, he was always like that and he always faced the life with a silent and deadly approach, he takes home the job and moves to another one, always in silence, always without giving too much explanations or asking too much questions. Maybe the difference this time it will be that he will take away with him a bit of sun to light his cloudy day.

http://www.mlrpress.com/ShowBook.php?book=FREEMAN1

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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
mikeyidaho
May. 7th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I've just read this a few days ago
and must admit it's one of the
best m/m romance (written by female
author) out there, mainly because
psychology, style, language! are
all surprisingly mature, a rather
untypical (for this 'genre')
short novel it was...
Once again it confirmed the suspicion
that British/ex-British Aussie
authors tend to be better
writers (yeah, there is much less of them
and half is writing historical fiction
anyway :-), but they simply do have a better
way with words, characters and places
generally)...sex scenes peeping hot and also
written differently what one really but
really appreciate (reading through so much
badly written or just simply copied/pasted
scenes of this kind in the e-'fiction').

And also I dare to guess the author
was perhaps inspired by this brutal,
but quite good in mood-expressing, British film
(if not I had to think of it all the time anyway...):
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0292502/

I wish Clare London has written more of
'contemporary' fiction (dare not to wish
for historical!) as I'm not as keen on
her two 'fantasy' novels, which will get
a go anyway as, alas, a hard author is good to find ;-D...
~~~

elisa_rolle
May. 7th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
We have similar taste since I think I read almost all the medium-long books by Clare London other than her fantasy novels (since I'm not fond of the genre...). I know there will be soon another contemporary romance out, more light than Freeman, probably in the style of Sparks Fly. Elisa
clarelondon
May. 8th, 2009 10:28 am (UTC)
Thank you very much for this lovely comment - Freeman was a diversion for me from my previous work and a different style altogether. I'm thrilled to know you enjoyed that particularly.

I haven't actually seen that film, though I'd heard of it - and I'm going to watch it soon. I confess I avoid 'brutal' in my writing because I don't think I'm up to that task :) but I know what you mean by the sinister mood. I was more influenced by thriller writers who write their anti-heroes in a terse and short-sentenced style. I like to read them, and wanted to write one too!

Your comment encourages me to try out some more of this style. Many thanks. ^_^
mikeyidaho
May. 9th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
oh wow :-D
I love livejournal where one can get response from the author themselves :-)
Yes, Freeman felt very special (m/m fiction wise), exactly what would a more-experienced reader wish for - an interesting story and great character even without the 'gay factor' :-D (highly appreciate not messing with the POV - first person for the main character only seems to be working somehow the best - Adrien English or Victor Bayne).
Like you said, it's working like any good thriller fiction with 'straight' hero would, that's what Erastes/Beecroft/Rowan are doing in historical fiction, Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo Price (Psy-Cop series) in mystery/detective stories and that's why they're the best authors out there...(& a few other writers for contemporary).

Loved your shorty 'In The Closet' too :-D very funny (another point of originality as m/m ladies tend to be rather pathetic than amusing).
Looking forward very much for your next books!
xxx
clarelondon
May. 8th, 2009 10:00 am (UTC)
Thank you so much Elisa for this thoughtful and perceptive review - I've just quoted you somewhere else, saying you always find something in a book that others don't - including myself!

I appreciated your view of Freeman - the fact that he's not a man who's been warped by a past event, but that he's naturally taciturn and introverted. Secretive, too. Even in my own opinion, he falls short of a 'hero'. And your view of Kit as a light that comes into Freeman's life, unquenchable despite the sordid things that happen to him - that's lovely.

At the end of the story, for Freeman to take away a 'bit of sun' is a charming and vivid image for me, I love it.

Thanks so much for your time and care. ♥
elisa_rolle
May. 8th, 2009 10:09 am (UTC)
You are welcome Clare. It's always nice to know that I manage to find something new and special (for me, but I hope also for others) in a book. Elisa
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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