One woman’s search for happiness.
[ About the Book ]
Allegra Bird’s arms are scattered with freckles, a gift from her beloved father. But despite her nickname, Freckles has never been able to join all the dots. So when a stranger tells her that everyone is the average of the five people they spend the most time with, it opens up something deep inside.
The trouble is, Freckles doesn’t know if she has five people. And if not, what does that say about her? She’s left her unconventional father and her friends behind for a bold new life in Dublin, but she’s still an outsider.
Now, in a quest to understand, she must find not one but five people who shape her – and who will determine her future.
Told in Allegra’s vivid, original voice, moving from modern Dublin to the fierce Atlantic coast, this is an unforgettable story of human connection, of friendship, and of growing into your own skin.
[ My Review ]
Freckles by Cecelia Ahern will be published September 2nd with Harper Collins Ireland and is described as ‘the must read new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of PS, I Love You’. It will be the 18th novel published by Cecelia Ahern and was inspired by one of many famous quotes from motivational speaker and business philosopher Jim Rohn (1930 – 2009)
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”
Allegra Bird is a traffic warden living in Malahide, a well-to-do suburb on the outskirts of Dublin city. At 24 years of age, Allegra’s life has not turned out quite as she had planned. Originally from Valentia Island off the coast of Kerry, Allegra’s father, a single parent, struggled at times to provide the necessary balance in her life, so she was sent to a boarding school. Allegra was always aware of her father’s love for her but she had never known the love of her mother who abandoned them both following Allegra’s birth. During her formative years in boarding school, Allegra never quite fit in and she resorted to self-harm. Her freckles were very important to Allegra, a part of her that linked her strongly to the one solid presence in her life, her Pops.
‘They called me Freckles. I inherited my Mam’s skin tone but Pops’ freckles. The parent who wanted me.
These freckles are the permanent mark that connects me to him, dot to dot, star to star, freckle to freckle’
From a young age, Allegra had ambitions to become a member of An Garda Síochána (police force) but, on failing the application, she settled for life as a traffic warden instead. Allegra Bird likes routine and putting on a uniform everyday provides a much-needed sense of belonging. She is lucky when she gets nice accommodation near her place of work and, up to a point, Allegra is content. But then she meets Tristan, a successful YouTuber who, in a moment of anger, quotes Jim Rohn and refers to Allegra as a loser. Allegra, plagued by his nasty comments, becomes obsessed with finding her five people that she spends most time with, only to come to the realisation that she only has her dad.
This is a defining moment for Allegra, sending her on an obstacle-riddled path of self-discovery and self-acceptance. At 24, Allegra is confused and frustrated with her life, with low levels of self-esteem and a certain lack of respect for herself. Allegra Bird is lost.
Freckles is Allegra Bird’s journey as she filters through the turmoil in her mind and tries to make sense of the world she now inhabits. All her life something has been missing, a need to belong, a need to be loved. Cecelia Ahern does raise sensitive themes throughout the novel but there is no great amount of space given over to them. I am assuming that a lighter approach was decided upon in how the whole area of mental health was handled, offering the reader what I would describe as a more fairy-tale version.
Freckles is a sweet and charming tale with a lovely, eclectic mix of characters. It is a life-affirming story about the importance of relationships and of having real-life connections. Freckles is the story of one young woman’s search to discover her true self and the type of person she wants to be, a gentle and optimistic read.
“I’ve always written about characters on journeys of self-discovery and increasingly I’ve been writing about outsiders. Allegra is exactly that, an outsider, a unique individual with an intriguing take, but one whose journey is so relatable. Allegra is trying to find her place, where she fits in, and find that human connection”
– Cecelia Ahern
[ Bio ]
Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. Her novels have been translated into thirty-five languages and have sold more than twenty-five million copies in over fifty countries. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.
She and her books have won numerous awards, including the Irish Book Award for Popular Fiction for The Year I Met You.
She lives in Dublin with her family.
Twitter – @Cecelia_Ahern