Tag Archives: Linda Gillard

The Glass Guardian- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from amazon)
Ruth Travers has lost a lover, both parents and her job. Now she thinks she might be losing her mind.

When death strikes again, Ruth finds herself the owner of a dilapidated Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh na Linne, the summer home she shared as a child with her beloved Aunt Janet, the woman she’d regarded as a mother.

As Ruth prepares to put the old house up for sale, she discovers she’s not the only occupant. Worse, she suspects she might be falling in love again.

With a man who died almost a hundred years ago…

Review

This is probably the best Linda Gillard I’ve read since A Lifetime Burning (which still remains my favourite). They both do have a supernatural element, although much stronger in this one.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of Her Fearful Symmetry it has a similar gothic feel, and I always like gothic stories.

The love story was good too, strangely realistic, although the way it ended was a bit too perfect.

3.5/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£1.99)

Paperback (£5.93)

Other Reviews:

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Top 10 Indie


Top 10 Tuesday is a meme hosted every Tuesday at The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers compile lists of different top 10s. This week it’s free choice

Top Ten Indie Authors/Books

I think as bloggers we are in a great position to promote indie authors. Unlike professional reviewers we can read whatever we want and that means we can more easily review lesser known authors and books. I have read some great indie authors (and let’s face it, some not so great ones!). I’m not sure if I can make 10 but for once they are sot of in an order of preference, 1 being first of course!

1) Scott StabileIf you’re a regular reader of this blog you may well know how much I love Scott Stabile’s Brooklyn Bites series of short stories. I’m not a big reader of short stories but I adored these. The descriptions of food and sense of relationships are particularly good. Read my reviews 1, 2, 3. Stabile has also co-written some children’s stories, a children’s film, a crime show, has a full length novel in the works, and plans for a further volume of Brooklyn Bites (does this guy ever sleep?).

2) Linda Gillard I first encountered Gillard as a published writer but she now self-publishes as she often find publishers want to pigeon-hole her books a bit. Her last 2 (possibly 3, although I have a feeling one had been published before?) novels were completely self-published (House of Silence, The Glass Guardian, possibly Untying the Knot), and her first three (A Lifetime Burning, Emotional Geology, Star Gazing) were ‘professionally’ published in the past. My favourite is A Lifetime Burning, closely followed by House of Silence.

3) That Day in September- Artie Van Why  this 9/11ir is incredibly moving without a shred of self-pity. It’s not easy to read in an emotional sense but it’s one of those types of books you should really give a try to. That Day in September was originally written as a play (which has been preformed off-Broadway) before it became a book.

4) My Dead Friend Sarah- Peter Rosch A crime/mystery novel with a bit of a twist, My Dead Friend Sarah follows a man who attempts to prevent the abduction and murder of a woman he has dreamt about. It’s a novel I can see appealing to a wide variety of readers and is one of the most professional self-published novels I have come across.

5) Pegasus Falling- William E. Thomas: essentially Pegasus Falling is a war novel, however it is more of a novel about the effects of war than about the war itself. There is also a love story element which has some messages about love. Pegasus Falling is the first book in The Cyprus Branches Trilogy, the second part It Never Was You is due out later this year.

6) 27- R.J. Heald This novel has an air of One Day around it which could make it very popular, but I actually preferred it. A perfect one for 20-somethings.

 

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Untying the Knot- Linda Gillard


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

A wife is meant to stand by her man. Especially an army wife. But Fay didn’t. She walked away – from Magnus, her traumatised war hero husband and from the home he was restoring: Tullibardine Tower, a ruined 16th-century tower house on a Perthshire hillside.

Now their daughter, Emily is getting married. But she’s marrying someone she shouldn’t.

And so is Magnus…

Review

I seem to be making a lot of Linda Gillard related postings recently don’t I? There’s no particular reason. I like Gillard’s work, and 3 of her books are only available on Kindle so once I got my Kindle they were pretty much top of my list of stuff to buy (it helps that they are cheap too!).  This is one of those 3 (The others I have already reviewed; House of Silence, and, A Lifetime Burning).

I must admit as far as Linda Gillard books go I found this one a little to predictable. I guessed early on at the main twist in the tale, although there were also certain bits I didn’t guess at.  I generally liked the characters. At least I liked Fay well enough, but I liked her (ex)mother-in-law the most and would actually have liked to see more of her. I didn’t really like Magnus that much but in a way that was part of his charm, and by the end I was gunning for him.

It’s an easy read so good for a relax but if you asked me to recommend a Linda Gillard book it wouldn’t be this one.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (£0.86)

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A Lifetime Burning re-release


The lovely new cover (from Amazon)

Linda Gillard is one of my favourite authors. I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of books by her, only yesterday I reviewed House of Silence.

My favourite book by her is A Lifetime Burning. Unfortunately it wasn’t supported very well by the publisher (my only real problem with it was the awful cover which you can see further down the page), and was eventually dropped. Now Linda has decided to re-release the book herself as an e-book, with a beautiful new cover which much better reflects what the novel is about.

It has been re-released today and will only cost you 88p from Amazon. I thoroughly recommend it, and for 88p how can you say no?!

Need more convincing? Here’s my original review

The original cover (from Amazon)

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Greedy for experience but determined to be good, Flora Dunbar spends a lifetime seeking love, trying to build a future out of the wreckage of her past – an eccentric childhood spent in the shadow of her musical twin, Rory; early marriage to Hugh, a clergyman twice her age; motherhood, which brings her Theo, the son she cannot love; middle-age, when she finds brief happiness in a scandalous affair with her nephew, Colin.

“If you asked my sister-in-law why she hated me, she’d say it was because I seduced her precious firstborn then tossed him onto the sizeable scrap-heap marked Flora’s ex-lovers. But she’d be lying. That isn’t why Grace hated me. Ask my brother Rory…”

Review

First off I suppose I should warn you that A Lifetime Burning is very different from Linda Gillard’s other books, Emotional Geology and Star Gazing. Although if speaking in loose terms you could say they are all about love. Although I really enjoyed the other two books they aren’t my usual style (as far as love stories go they are far superior to chick-lit books, and the writing is thoughtful and rather beautiful). A Lifetime Burning is more like something I would pick up. Actually having said that if I hadn’t previously known Gillard’s work I probably wouldn’t have looked at it in a book shop because of that front cover. The cover is actually the worst part of the book! It’s so unrepresentative, makes the book look like sci-fi rather than a story about ‘real’ life.

Character wise I didn’t really like Flora, who was the narrator. I found her selfish, and self centred. She didn’t really seem to care about anyone [highlight for spoiler]not even Rory really, she just wanted him for herself, no matter what. Rory was a little better, he at least seemed to show some care for others. My favourite character was Grace though, she stuck with her husband, and his family no matter what- I guess that could be seen as being a pushover but I saw her as more resilient, and forgiving. I did find it a little unbelievable after a point [spoiler]the idea of there being a whole two generations of children being involved in incest, plus 2 people from 2 generations previously. but then I changed my mind [spoiler]and decided that maybe it was meant to be genetic, Theo himself says as much. In a way that makes the subject less disturbing, like it was always going to be that way.

Such a shame this is no longer being published (my copy came from Linda Gillard herself). I think it could do well given the right marketing.

4/5

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House of Silence- Linda Gillard


Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

“My friends describe me as frighteningly sensible, not at all the sort of woman who would fall for an actor. And his home. And his family.”

Orphaned by drink, drugs and rock n’ roll, Gwen Rowland is invited to spend Christmas at her boyfriend Alfie’s family home, Creake Hall – a ramshackle Tudor manor in Norfolk. She’s excited about the prospect of a proper holiday with a proper family, but soon after she arrives, Gwen senses something isn’t quite right. Alfie acts strangely toward his family and is reluctant to talk about the past. His mother, a celebrated children’s author, keeps to her room, living in a twilight world, unable to distinguish between past and present, fact and fiction. And then there’s the enigma of an old family photograph…

When Gwen discovers fragments of forgotten family letters sewn into an old patchwork quilt, she starts to piece together the jigsaw of the past and realises there’s more to the family history than she’s been told. It seems there are things people don’t want her to know.

And one of those people is Alfie…

Review

When I found out that Linda Gillard’s new book was only coming out in digital format I was disappointed. I didn’t have a Kindle and I wanted to read it (and honestly reading on my ipod really ruins the reading experience). So when I got my Kindle it was one of the first books I bought. Having really liked Emotional Geology and Star Gazing, and loving A Lifetime Burning, I had pretty high hopes for this one.

Were my hopes met? Well I enjoyed it certainly, and although it took a little getting in to I didn’t want it to stop by the end. The old manor house and family intrigue put me in mind of Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours, and for some reason parts of plots began to blend in my head after I had read this one. It’s strange because apart from an old house and family secrets there is very little similarity. You don’t expect the same sort of secrets (even if at certain points it seems to be going that way you are shocked by it and expect even at the time for it not to be as it seems). There is the love element which The Distant Hours doesn’t have.

The one love interest in the book is pretty classic Gillard. Not the strong handsome type of chick-lit but sensitive, and flawed with a past that makes him more that just ‘the love interest’. The other, at least initially, seems much more your standard ‘hero’ type, handsome, charming, witty, but somewhat fake. I liked them both though [highlight for spoiler]In fact for once I didn’t like the woman so much. Well maybe that’s not true, I did like Gwen. Maybe really I mean I wouldn’t have made the choice she did. I preferred Alfie most of the way through, and by the end it was quite a close call.

I wouldn’t say it is Gillard’s best work of what I have read but still certainly worth the read.

4/5

Buy it:

For Kindle

CymLowell

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Blog Hop


This weeks blog hop is a little different, instead of answering a question we get to promote a giveaway…for another blog.

I want to highlight Dizzy C’s Little Book Blog’s giveaway. She’s giving away a signed copy of Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard. This is fantastic book and is now out of print, so if you’re a fan of ‘real’ books this could be your only chane to get your hands on a copy. It’s an international giveaway so no restictions.

Over on her blog Dizzy C also has an interview with Linda Gillard and her own review of Emoional Geology so you should look those up too.

I’ve already read Emotional Geology (my review), as well as two other books by Linda Gillard (Star Gazing, A Lifetime Burning) and she’s a bit of a favourite of mine. I don’t own either Emotional Geology or Star Gazing though so I’ve entered in hope of having my own copy.

Happy blog hop weekend everyone.

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Star Gazing- Linda Gillard


This review was written 15/07/09


Synopsis
(from Shelfari)

Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her forties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister, Louisa, a successful novelist. Marianne’s passionate nature finds solace and expression in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, a man she encounters on her doorstep one winter’s night. While Marianne has had her share of men attracted to her because they want to rescue her, Keir makes no concession to her condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, and yet oddly kind. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his island home on Skye, to “show” her the stars?

Review

I really liked this but can’t quite put my finger on what it is (yes helpful, I know!). Most of all I liked Keir. He wasn’t perfect, but perfect would have made for a boring book, and I think most of his faults were more mistakes than flaws, which is the best type of fault. Marianne I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. I admired how strong and independent she was, but at times her logic was so….wonky. I understood it but never agreed, even though I guess parts of it were caused by Keir’s mistakes. I kind of devoured it, I’ve read books faster, but still I only started it Sunday and have been really reading it in my gaps from work, I even almost missed my bus stop on the way to work today! (highlight for spoiler)  I was so relieved when they decided to get married at the end, and annoyed at Marianne for not just leaping at the chance. I did expect it to be Keir though and I think it might have been better if we only found out when Marianne did, or at least as close as possible. I guess most people would realise when she sensed him.

I just thought of something else I liked about Star Gazing, or maybe just Linda Gillard’s style in general. It has some of the easiness that chick-lit has- and which is the main reason I read it- but it doesn’t make me feel (for want of a better word) guilty for reading trash. Because it isn’t trash. Even though it has the same love themes that chick-lit has, and I guess to a certain extent the same plotline (you know; boy meets girl, falls in love, there’s a conflict, they break up, they get back together and live hapilly ever after), it’s different. It seems more carefully thought out and research. The characters are characters in their own right rather than the usual 30somethings you find in chick-lit who are all basically the same. And it’s not your usual heroine which makes it seem more…realistic I guess, because they aren’t like the ‘perfect’ girl.

I prefered this one to Emotional Geology, and am looking forward to reading more Linda Gillard.

4/5

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Emotional Geology- Linda Gillard


This review was written 13/6/09


Synopsis
(from Amazon)

Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

Review

I finished this last week (or was it early this week? I can’t remember) so my thoughts may be a little hazy but I will try my best!
It took me a while to get into, I wasn’t too comfortable with the writing style because I thought it didn’t flow very well, it seems sort of like bullet points. Thinking about it that probably made it realistic, and more like we were hearing Rose think than her talking to us. I guess it’s probably a good stylistic decision but it did make it harder to get into the book. After a while the style ceased to matter really, as I got more into the story I noticed it less and less. I really liked Rose, and loved Callum and I was sad to see them go by the end.
I also really liked the descriptions of the island. It made me want to be in a rugged landscape or by the sea (or both!). I tend to prefer that to the more polished country-side that is nearest to Birmingham.
Not the best book I have read this year but certainly worth reading

3.5/5

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A Lifetime Burning- Linda Gillard


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Greedy for experience but determined to be good, Flora Dunbar spends a lifetime seeking love, trying to build a future out of the wreckage of her past – an eccentric childhood spent in the shadow of her musical twin, Rory; early marriage to Hugh, a clergyman twice her age; motherhood, which brings her Theo, the son she cannot love; middle-age, when she finds brief happiness in a scandalous affair with her nephew, Colin.

“If you asked my sister-in-law why she hated me, she’d say it was because I seduced her precious firstborn then tossed him onto the sizeable scrap-heap marked Flora’s ex-lovers. But she’d be lying. That isn’t why Grace hated me. Ask my brother Rory…”

Review

First off I suppose I should warn you that A Lifetime Burning is very different from Linda Gillard’s other books, Emotional Geology and Star Gazing. Although if speaking in loose terms you could say they are all about love. Although I really enjoyed the other two books they aren’t my usual style (as far as love stories go they are far superior to chick-lit books, and the writing is thoughtful and rather beautiful). A Lifetime Burning is more like something I would pick up. Actually having said that if I hadn’t previously known Gillard’s work I probably wouldn’t have looked at it in a book shop because of that front cover. The cover is actually the worst part of the book! It’s so unrepresentative, makes the book look like sci-fi rather than a story about ‘real’ life.

Character wise I didn’t really like Flora, who was the narrator. I found her selfish, and self centred. She didn’t really seem to care about anyone [highlight for spoiler]not even Rory really, she just wanted him for herself, no matter what. Rory was a little better, he at least seemed to show some care for others. My favourite character was Grace though, she stuck with her husband, and his family no matter what- I guess that could be seen as being a pushover but I saw her as more resilient, and forgiving. I did find it a little unbelievable after a point [spoiler]the idea of there being a whole two generations of children being involved in incest, plus 2 people from 2 generations previously. but then I changed my mind [spoiler]and decided that maybe it was meant to be genetic, Theo himself says as much. In a way that makes the subject less disturbing, like it was always going to be that way.

Such a shame this is no longer being published (my copy came from Linda Gillard herself). I think it could do well given the right marketing.

4/5

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The Path to the Lake- Susan Sallis


Synopsis (from Amazon)

Viv’s marriage to David was not a conventional one, but when he died – in an accident for which she blamed herself – it was as if her whole world had collapsed around her. She escaped by running, mainly around the nearby lake, which was once a popular place of recreation but was now desolate and deserted. It became both her refuge and her dread. But through the misery she made some unexpected friends – a couple in the village whose family needed her as much as she needed them. And gradually, as a new life opened up, she could confront the terrible secrets which had haunted her and which could now be laid to rest.

Review

This book was ok, nothing special but easy to read and it show signs of turning into something which kept you reading. Unfortunately although you found out more about these hints it never really came to anything, the secret was never really revealed although it was fairly obvious to me by the end what it was. It could have been to much more if the secret was built on and when it was never even explicitly revealed I was disappointed. In parts it felt a little like the work of Linda Gillard, but where Gillard’s work has a sort of poetry this doesn’t flow the same and I didn’t feel the same connection with the characters. I found the whole connection with the doorknob a little confusing, and, to be honest, it was kind of pointless, a plot line that didn’t need to be there, it felt more like Sallis was trying to add some excitement to the book but didn’t know how to. I found the prologue badly written and was confused by the relationship between George and Nellie, the way it was initially written made it sound (to me at least) like he was her stepfather it was only later, and after a fair bit of confusion that I realised she was his girlfriend!

3/5

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