Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Untying the Knot by Linda Gillard

  • Kindle Edition: File size 493KB
  • Genre: Psychological Fiction
  • Publisher: Kindle Edition 2011
  • Source: E-book provided by the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
  • First Sentences : I stitch memories. That's what I do. Not mine, other people's. I capture them in cloth, thread and ink.
  • Favourite Quote : "Everyone makes mistakes, but I sometimes think I’ve made more than most. Marrying Magnus was one of them. But the biggest mistake I ever made was divorcing him."
  • My Opinion: Another surprise from one of my favourite authors.

  • I have been a fan of Linda Gillard since I first discovered her writing in 2007 and I have enjoyed each and every one of them. For me the most exciting thing about starting her latest novel is the not knowing exactly what you are going to be getting within the pages. So far with each new title she has changed tack somewhat in her writing style and I suspect this is why she does not conveniently fit a publishers mould.
    Untying the Knot, met all my expectations, except for the cover which I somehow feel does not do justice to the story. There was for me no connection with this and the story, but I knew little about it when I started reading. Unlike many readers I try to avoid reading too much information about a novel until after I have read it, which is why I dislike spoilers in reviews. If you like to learn more about the background of a novel before you read it, Linda has written a fabulous piece about Untying the Knot which does not contain spoilers but may help you decide if this is one for you. I certainly hope it is as by Linda's own admission it has been the hardest of her novels to write and I think she has tackled the difficult subjects raised with great compassion.

    The protagonists are Fay and Magnus a divorced couple that seem unable to move on with their lives, due to their 'indissoluble bond'. Magnus returned from the Falklands War with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Fay was not the strong army wife that she feels she should have been. Now five years after their divorce, with regrets behind them, they are both still making dreadful decisions about their lives. Linking them together still is their daughter Emily and the fact that Fay is friendly with her ex mother in law Jessie.
    The emotion and humour within the story is perfectly balanced as the narrative of Fay and Magnus's love unfolds. Fay is now working artistically with textiles and Magnus is restoring Tullibardine Tower which was once their home together and features strongly. You may not like their behaviour at times, particularly one situation they get themselves into, but these are realistic characters and sadly for people with their histories, entirely credible.

    Why did I enjoy this so much? Well I think besides it being another well written story from a favourite author with a great plot and a fabulous ending, it felt real. You cannot fail to relate to at least some of the issues raised within the pages, well worth reading.

    I would love to know what you think of Linda Gillard's writing, or if you have not read any of her novels I urge you to do so. My recommendation would be to read them in order of publication, as I felt that with each novel her writing just kept getting better. Can she keep up the standard well I hope so as I am already looking forward to the next one.

       Author Profile

    Linda graduated from Bristol University, then trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, Linda developed a second career as a freelance journalist, doing both for awhile. Later she gave up acting to raise a family and write from home.
    Twelve years later, she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught in Norfolk for some years. She moved to the Isle of Skye where she lived for six years in a house on a hill overlooking the Cuillin mountain range, featured in her first novel, Emotional Geology, (2005). In 2006 A Lifetime Burning and in 2008 Stargazing which was also partly set in Skye. The following year Stargazing was voted "Favourite Romantic Novel 1960-2010" by the readers of Woman's Weekly magazine.
    Her fourth novel House of Silence was not published until 2011, as she was unable to find a publisher. As a Kindle e-book it very quickly became a bestseller, selling over 10,000 copies in four months.
    If you are interested in finding out more about This author and her writing please visit some of the links I have listed below.

    I read three of Linda Gillard’s previous novels before I started writing LindyLouMac’s Book Reviews but you may be interested in reading my Journal entries at Bookcrossing- LindyLouMac- Home Page
    Emotional Geology – Journal Entries (read in 2007)
    A Lifetime Burning – Journal Entries (I read this one in 2007 as well)
    Stargazing – Links to my review reproduced on this blog for the RNA Award post. (I read this in 2008)
    Stargazing - Journal Entries
    Her fourth book I reviewed on LindyLouMac's Book Reviews last year.
    House of Silence - My Review

    Official Website for Linda Gillard Please visit her website as lots of  interesting information, also if you are a Facebook Fan she has a Facebook Fan Page.

    I am still hoping that one day Linda Gillard will get the recognition she deserves and hopefully we will see her novels being published in hard copy again, although I know she is having tremendous success with her e-book sales. Until then you need to find yourself an e-Reader if you are not familiar with her writing.

    Biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the websites mentioned in the post and to Amazon.co.uk.


    1. Hi Linda,

      I have to admit that I have never come across this author before, although I have now checked out both her and her previous novels. All of her books seem to deal with difficult and emotionally challenging issues and it sounds as though she does this in an entertaining yet serious way.

      I have added the books to my humongous reading list and I have to say that I quite like the cover.

      Obviously it would be impossible to choose whether or not to read a book without a synopsis, however I have to agree that increasingly many synopses do give away too many 'spoilers', which is a real shame.

      Hope that you are getting the same fantastic weather as us and are enjoying a good week.


      1. Yvonne, I am so pleased to be able to introduce you to Linda's writing. I have a feeling that her novels will appeal to you. Yes we are enjoying beautiful weather, I find it hard to keep up with blogging now there is so much to do in the garden.

    2. Thanks, Linda, for your thoughtful review. If only all reviewers were so considerate when it came to spoilers. But I do appreciate how difficult it is to give the flavour of a book (and perhaps say why it's worth reading) without giving anything away. I think this is particularly so with my books. With my plots, what you see isn't always what you get! ;-)

      The cover image has had a mixed reception. (Glad you liked it, Yvonne. :-)) We tried to come up with something that said "psychological romantic family drama" an impossible task of course, especially with a Kindle thumbnail. The cover was meant to be intriguing and we wanted it to suggest a woman running away from her marriage (which Fay did after many years.) The apricot sky was meant to suggest burning (the war zones Magnus had served in) and the whole thing represented one of Fay's many nightmares in which she does the unforgiveable: refuses to stand by her man.

      But I don't think it worked. Readers see the wedding dress and think "chick lit". In vain do I point out that this bride isn't smiling!

      1. Thanks Linda for taking the time to call by and comment, it is really appreciated. I find some reviews just too lengthy and detailed. Maybe mine tend to be the opposite, rather concise, but I am trying to tempt my followers to read the book for themselves, without giving to much away. Looking forward to your next release already.

    3. I've not read any of Linda's but I've heard so many good thing about her books that I think I'm going to have to! Thanks for the review.

      1. Talli, I really think you should, I would be very surprised if her writing does not appeal to you.

    4. This sounds like my kind of book. Thanks for another excellent review, Lindy. :)

      1. Len have you not discovered Linda's novels yet, I am surprised? Or is it just this one you have not read yet, anyway I recommend all her books to you I think that you would enjoy them.

    5. So not only do we share an interest in travel and photography I now find out that we also both love to read!!!
      I'll be following you over here.

      This is a new author to me and she sounds like a good one. I'll be adding her to my Friday Finds!!

      1. That is great Jake, delighted to welcome you aboard and look forward to swapping thoughts. I am delighted to have introduced you to Linda Gillard's writing.

    6. I loved this book too LindyLou, I have enjoyed everything I've read by this author so far, and still have a couple more to read. I really like the cover on this one.

      1. Oh that is good Lindsay, I will look for your review and LG will be delighted you like the cover! You are welcome to put the link to your review here if you want to.

    7. I love that quote too: Everyone makes mistakes, but I sometimes think I’ve made more than most. Marrying Magnus was one of them. But the biggest mistake I ever made was divorcing him."

      It say so much and raises so many questions!

      1. Brilliant isn't it Theresa! Have you read any of Linda's books?

      2. Teresa, I'm so glad that quote spoke to you! As an author it's hard to work out how to intrigue without giving away so much, the reader feels s/he doesn't need to read the book. On the other hand, you don't want to be irritatingly enigmatic either!

        You've summed up exactly what I try to do. :-)

    8. Thanks for sharing this book and author with us Linda. I love to hear of other author's success stories. I shall be adding Untying the Knot to my ever-increasing Kindle collection.

      1. I have no idea why I have only just seen this comment Joanne, how wierd when my weekend reading happens to be one of your novels! Have you found the time to read any of LG's novels yet? I will be looking forward to hearing what you think.


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