A Lifetime Burning by Linda Gillard

ISBN: 1 905175 256

Published: June 2006

Read an extract from the book here

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‘The Dunbars are a good-looking family – even the old ones – and massed in black, as we are now, impressive. We’re a clannish lot, loyal to a fault - even when we hate each other. And I should know - flighty Flo, wicked Aunt Flora, poor Rev. Wentworth’s mad wife who, for everyone’s sake, really should have been kept in the attic….’

Synopsis

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.

Reviews

‘This book engages the reader, both emotionally and intellectually, and it is hard to put down. Practically every page has another twist in the plot, her characters develop throughout the novel and one begins to think of them as part of one’s own family, at which stage one is in danger of wondering about one’s own family, and what skeletons might be in its closet.’

Kevin Crowe, Am Bratach

"An extremely complex tale about a family plagued by incestuous relationships. Manages to remain completely neutral, and thoroughly believeable, despite some pretty shocking scenarios. Beautifully written. (4 Stars)"

The Bluestalking Reader

"An absolute page-turner! I could not put this book down and read it over a weekend. It is a haunting and disturbing exploration of the meaning of love within a close-knit family, the Dunbars. Flora, a twin, never feels she quite fits. The book opens with her own account of her funeral and then jumping backwards and forwards through the years of her childhood, adolescence, marriage and motherhood, we see how her quest for love and happiness lead her along a destructive path of alcoholism, broken hearts and painful truths which eventually lead to her downfall. This is a disturbing tragedy but one in which you feel drawn to the characters and have sympathy for each of them in their complex web of tangled emotions. Long after the last page is read, you are still caught up in the emotions of the Dunbars. Find a place for it in your holiday luggage!"

Love Reading.com

Author Profile : Linda Gillard

Linda Gillard graduated from Bristol University and trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. For eight years she pursued an acting career, the highlight of which was sharing a table in The National Theatre canteen with Sir Michael Gambon. (The lowlight was playing a fairy for four rainy months in an open-air production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in London’s Regent’s Park).

Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, Linda accidentally became a successful freelance journalist and wrote many articles based on her self-sufficient “Good Life” in rural Cambridgeshire. For twelve years she had a humorous column in Ideal Home. Linda ran her two careers concurrently for a while, then decided to give up acting to raise a family and write from home. Twelve years later she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught in Norfolk specialising in English and Art.

A further rethink entailed giving up teaching and downshifting to the Isle of Skye, realising a long-held dream to move to a Scottish island and write full-time.

Also by this author

Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

ISBN 1-905175-078 Price £7.99

Available June 2005

Read an extract from the book here.

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‘I talk to the island. I don’t speak, but my thoughts are directed towards it. Sometimes it replies. Never in words, of course. I miss trees. You don’t notice at first that there are hardly any trees here, just that the landscape is very flat, as if God had taken away all the hills and mountains and dumped them on neighbouring Skye. But eventually you realise it’s trees that you miss. Trees talk back

Reviews

‘Very readable and moving. It has a beautiful cover and is well-written and unusual. It's about a bi-polar woman, recovering from terrible trauma and it's not nearly as grim as that sounds. What I most liked about it was the writer's evident love for fabric, handiwork of various kinds and the way she brings a whole landscape to life. I'm looking forward to her next.’

Adele Geras

‘Emotional geology is smoothly plotted and approachable. Gillard manages to draw her Uist characters credibly.

West Highland Free Press

‘A book about madness, memory and mountaineering that defies categorisation. The book’s narrative style is spare and kaleidoscopic; the plot layered in time like an archeological dig. It is a novel interspersed with poems, a study of the relationship between madness and creativity, and above all, a love story – filled with passion and paint-stripping honesty.’

Highlands & Islands Arts Journal

‘The prose style is quiet, and whispering, and effectively therapeutic.’

The Hebridean

‘A compelling, touching, tender book with many beautifully crafted and heart wrenching parts. The story is complicated which makes for a surprising read.’

Depression Alliance

‘A tightly woven literary fabric of many emotional threads, which result in an engrossing and satisfying read. It may hold particular appeal for anyone who has experienced extreme distress, but its lucid prose and powerful description – and a penultimate series of emotional bombshells that play like that crucial cinematic ‘twist’ we all increasingly expect in film – result in an un-put-downable page-turner that is likely to captivate readers across the board.’

Well? Magazine

Author Links

Linda has her own website you can visit at www.lindagillard.co.uk

 

 

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