Global Reading Challenge ~ Country # 55) England

Star GazingI started reading Star Gazing by Linda Gillard yesterday &  finished it today (I would have finished it in one day if I hadn’t had to go grocery shopping yesterday!). Can I just say “WOW!” What a fantastic book! I didn’t want to put it down & today was absolutely frustrated beyond belief with the train from London to Bedford, because it arrived in Bedford just a few pages before the end of the book ~ at a point where no one in their right mind would want to have to put this book down! (Majorly crucial point of the book – I wanted to sit on the empty train & just continue reading until someone came along & found me & kicked me off! :))

I have previously read Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard & loved it too, but this book is miles better in comparison! To quote the blurb on the back of the book: “Blind since birth, widowed in her twenties, now lonely in her fourties, Marianne Fraser lives in Edinburgh in elegant, angry anonymity with her sister. Marianne’s passionate nature finds solace in music, a love she finds she shares with Keir, the man she encounters on her doorstep one winter’s night.

Keir makes no concession to Marianne’s condition. He is abrupt to the point of rudeness, yet oddly & touchingly kind. But can Marianne trust her feelings for this reclusive stranger who wants to take a blind woman to his home on Skye, to “show” her the stars?”

Linda has created in Marianne a woman who is fiercely independent but also incredibly needy, both a direct result of her blindness. Marianne is a force to be reckoned with – headstrong, proud & at times stubborn as a mule (often to her detriment). She is the most incredible woman & while I sometimes wished I could shake some sense into her, scream at her to wake up & stop shutting people out, I loved her nonetheless & completely understood why she was behaving the way she was.

Keir, the male interest in the novel is everything a woman could want in a man – but he is such a believable character. He doesn’t come across as fantasy, or something that couldn’t exist, which is helped along by the fact that Linda lets us see his faults. His inability to really, trulyexpress his emotions makes him real & the way he treats Marianne just makes you love him – warts & all! (relax, he doesn’t really have warts, I’m being figurative, lol) The man (or Linda, should I say) has a genuine gift for description of all things physical. His (her?) ability to describe the Isle of Skye in relation to music was stunning & her discription of the “bird cd” made me rush home to google to see if it existed!

As background characters, Garth the Goth & Louisa were excellent – they filled in the details Marianne herself couldn’t & I especially loved the three different points of view in the book – Marianne’s, Louisa’s & the Narrator’s. I’ve read another book that jumped from person to person & I would say it was just like that with that particular book – jumping from person to person. This book wasn’t like that, while there were 3 different p.o.v.’s, they flowed so smoothly between each other & I really cannot imagine that this particular story could have been told any other way.

I don’t really think I can say much more about this book without giving too much away, so I shall simply leave it with: I loved Marianne, loved Keir & am so happy that I read this book! It is one that I can easily see myself coming back to time & again to re-read!


1 Comment

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One response to “Global Reading Challenge ~ Country # 55) England

  1. Thank you, Ceinwen, for your lovely review of my novel. :-)))

    Rautavaara’s CANTUS ARCTICUS (Symphony for Birds and Orchestra) does indeed exist and there’s a cheap recording on the Naxos label. Do try and get hold of a copy. I’ll be surprised if, having read the book, you can listen to it dry-eyed. It’s a stunning piece of music that shouldn’t work, but somehow does.

    Film rights have been sold for STAR GAZING and I’m waiting impatiently to see if a movie will actually get off the ground. (My dream team? Cate Blanchett and Gerard Butler.)

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