Tag Archives: Emotional Geology

House of Silence by Linda Gillard

Ok, so I caved & bought House of Silence to read on my laptop…..then spent the entire time wishing it was possible to print it myself, as reading it off the computer just drove me crazy! I downloaded it on April 3rd & only finished it today – because it got to the point where I had to force myself to read it. I appreciate that this is different from reading it on a Kindle, but I don’t own a Kindle & have no intentions of buying one for myself any time soon. I am very happy that Linda was able to get this book out to her eager readers & I do think that publishers are idiots for not publishing her books, but Kindle for computer is definitely not for me.

House of Silence has had some rave reviews on other blogs & on Amazon, but I am afraid that this is not going to be one of those. I loved Linda’s other books (for those of you who have not read them, they are: Emotional Geology, Star Gazing & A Lifetime Burning), but I was left feeling somewhat ambivelant about this one. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing overtly wrong with House of Silence, I just thought that it wasn’t as good as the previous offerings from Linda. It is a good book, but it isn’t one that is going to stay with me, which the previous three (for various reasons), did.

House of Silence centres on the stories of Gwen & Alfie. Gwen is a wardrobe mistress & Alfie an actor. They meet on the set of a period drama & become a couple. When Christmas comes Gwen convinces Alfie to take her to Creake Hall, his family’s country estate in Norfolk, so she can experience a “family Christmas”.  On the drive from London to Norfolk Alfie regales Gwen with horror stories of his crazy family, in the hopes of getting her used to the idea that family is not all it’s cracked up to be. On arrival at Creake Hall we are introduced to Hattie, Alfie’s sister closest in age to him (and my favourite character), and Viv, Alfie’s eldest sister. Very quickly Gwen begins to question the relationships (or lack of) of Alfie & his siblings. Things are not as they seem, but she can’t quite put her finger on what’s not quite right. This nagging sense of something being off kilter leads Gwen to question everything she sees and everything she believes she knows about Alfie & his family – with some devastating concequences!

All-in-all, House of Silence is a decent book, one I would recommend. But as I said, Linda’s earlier offerings were far superior! (Sorry Linda!!!)

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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!

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Emotional Geology ~ by Linda Gillard

emotional-geologyI finished reading Emotional Geology a few minutes ago & I am torn about this book. It is a brilliantly written account of a woman who is wrestling with mental illness & the impact that illness has had/does have on the people around her.

Linda Gillard has a wonderful writing style – very poetic (indeed, part of the book is written as poetry) & she made me feel as though I knew exactly where Rose was – like I could imagine her little fishing shack on the edge of the ocean & it’s doubtlessly beautiful surroundings. A lot of the book is dedicated to Rose’s memories of events long past, always involving the man who haunts her – Gavin, who was a climber. Rose, we learn, suffered from mental illness before Gavin became a part of her life, but it is because of Gavin that Rose has moved to the isolated Hebridean isle of North Uist, to try and live her life the only way she believes she can survive ~ alone. She lives in isolation to escape Gavin’s memory, to escape a past filled with hurt. Through the arrival of Rose’ s daughter we see just how self involved Rose is & learn that all things are not necessarily as they may seem, that maybe Rose doesn’t really have an accurate recollection of certain events in her past, because of her mental illness.

Not long after her arrival on North Uist Rose is drawn, almost prophetically, to Calum, a local school teacher & they embark on several “journeys” together – metaphorical & physical & together they learn that they have far more in common than either of them realised & than is perhaps safe for either of their mental stabilities.

Emotional Geology came to me via a book ring from the Book Club Forum & it took me a lot longer to read this book than it should have done. It was a great book, but I think because of the place I am in right now, with my own bit of emotional geology, I found this very difficult to read. From what I can see from the checking I have done, this book has been marketed as a kind of grown-up chick lit, which really does do this book a dis-service. Yes, it is at it’s heart a love story, but it is also so much more than that! I think this book could speak to a much wider audience & is something that I would recommend for anyone to read – male or female & I believe that Ms. Gillard’s publishing house missed an opportunity when they decided to market this to a mainly female audience.

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