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….’
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.
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.’
Crowe, Am Bratach
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
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!"
Profile : Linda Gillard
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
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.
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.
by this author
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
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.’
geology is smoothly plotted and approachable. Gillard manages to
draw her Uist characters credibly.
Highland Free Press
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
& Islands Arts Journal
prose style is quiet, and whispering, and effectively therapeutic.’
compelling, touching, tender book with many beautifully crafted
and heart wrenching parts. The story is complicated which makes
for a surprising read.’
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.’
has her own website you can visit at www.lindagillard.co.uk