Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tour for A Meeting of a Different Kind by Linda MacDonald. Thank you to the author for sending me the eBook.
“When archaeologist Edward Harvey’s wife Felicity inherits almost a million, she gives up her job, buys a restaurant and, as a devotee of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, starts turning their home into a small eco-farm. Edward is not happy, not least because she seems to be losing interest in him. Taryn is a borderline manic-depressive, a scheming minx, a seductress and user of men. Edward and Taryn don’t know each other but they both know Marianne. To Edward, Marianne is a former classmate who sends him crazy emails. She is Taryn’s best friend, and when Marianne meets Edward, she tells Taryn how wonderful he is and that he is not the philandering type. Taryn sees a challenge and concocts a devious plan to meet him during a series of lectures he is giving at the British Museum. When Edward and Taryn’s paths cross, questions of friendship, loyalty and betrayal are played out against a backdrop of mental fragility and the destabilising effects of a large inheritance…”
This is the stand-alone sequel to Meeting Lydia which I haven’t read but that certainly didn’t affect my enjoyment of this book in the slightest. However, there were some mentions of a difficult time in Marianne’s past and I admit that I would now like to read Meeting Lydia just to get more details about what actually went on during that time.
To begin with I thought that Edward and Felicity had the perfect life with everything they could possibly wish for but it soon became clear that this wasn’t the case. I loved Felicity’s ideas for the restaurant, I was nodding my head in agreement when she described the lack of places to eat when you have specific dietary requirements. I would have liked to have known a bit more about her because quite often I found myself wondering what was going through her mind.
Taryn exploded onto the scene with some choice words and a flying scrabble box, this certainly made me sit up and take notice of her – I knew then that I would find her interesting. As she described her difficult childhood, I felt that this explained her lifestyle and some of her manipulative actions even if I didn’t agree with it.
Marianne was an intriguing character, I really enjoyed her emails to Edward especially some of the crazier ones – I could definitely relate to her random thought processes!
The writing was fantastic, the author beautifully captured the essence of each relationship/friendship and the further I read the more connected I felt to the characters and their lives. Sometimes the subject of infidelity can make me feel uncomfortable but with these characters I just didn’t feel that way – it was written so that it felt purposeful instead of just hurtful (if that makes any kind of sense).
The story delved deep into the psychology of relationships and friendships and in my mind raised the question do you learn to live with the changes that time and age bring to relationships/friendships or do you break away and start afresh?. By the end there was no firm answer and I was left wondering where life would take these characters next – I do hope there will be another book to follow because I would quite like to see the outcome!
This was a delightful, thought-provoking read that captivated me with its realness.
““Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.”
Marianne Hayward, teacher of psychology and compulsive analyser of the human condition, is hormonally unhinged. The first seven years of her education were spent at a boys’ prep school, Brocklebank Hall, where she was relentlessly bullied. From the start, she was weak and frightened and easy prey for Barnaby Sproat and his gang. Only one boy was never horrible to her: the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey, on whom she developed her first crush.
Now 46, when Marianne finds her charming husband in the kitchen talking to the glamorous Charmaine, her childhood insecurities resurface and their once-happy marriage begins to slide. Teenage daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited, which results in both fearful and nostalgic memories of prep school as Marianne wonders what has become of the bullies and of Edward Harvey. Frantic to repair her marriage, yet rendered snappy and temperamental by her plummeting hormones, her attempts towards reconciliation fail. The answer to all her problems could lie in finding Edward again… But what would happen if she found what she seeks?”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linda MacDonald was born and brought up in Cockermouth, on the edge of the Lake District in Cumbria, England. She was educated at the local grammar school and later at Goldsmiths’, University of London where she studied for a BA in psychology and then a PGCE in biology and science. She taught secondary science and biology in Croydon for eleven years before taking some time out to write, paint and make jewellery. In 1990 she was lured back into teaching at a sixth form college in south-east London where she taught health and social care and psychology. For over twenty-five years she was also a visiting tutor in the psychology department at Goldsmiths’.
At the end of 2009, Linda broke her wrist very badly through tripping over a classroom chair. Reminded of the fragility of life and how time was passing with her writing dreams still unfulfilled, she decided to publish her first novel independently. Meeting Lydia was inspired by finding an ex classmate on Friends Reunited. The novel explores the effects of school bullying on later life, and the pros and cons of internet relationships from the perspective of a woman going through a midlife crisis. It was published in September 2011. The stand-alone sequel, A Meeting of a Different Kind, had already been drafted before Linda broke her wrist and was published in November last year. It continues the story from the perspectives of two different characters, looking at issues of friendship, loyalty and betrayal. Both books may be read independently and are being very well-received by a wide ranging readership of men as well as women. It is expected that there will be a third part to the series and this is a work in progress.
Health issues in 2011 prompted Linda to retire from teaching in order to concentrate on her writing career. She hopes that with this new focus she can bring her books to the notice of a larger audience.
To find out more about Linda MacDonald:
Enter the giveaway for the chance to win:
Lapis Lazuli and sterling silver Y-chain necklace
Murano glass heart earrings with rolled gold earwires
2 x hand-knitted luxury pure wool hats – some flexibility with colour options to suit winners
1 x signed copy of Meeting Lydia
Each winner will also receive 1 Meeting Lydia bookmark and a signed A Meeting of a Different Kind postcard.
Correctly identify 2 quotations that Linda MacDonald overheard on a train and used in the first chapter of A Meeting of a Different Kind. See sample on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Meeting-Different-Kind-Linda-MacDonald/dp/1780883250/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351775196&sr=1-1#reader_1780883250
Winners will be drawn from those correctly identifying both quotations. In the event of fewer than five correct entries, those with one correct quotation will go into the draw for the remaining prizes. If there are fewer than 5 entries with two or one correct answer, winners will be drawn from those leaving a comment after a review or guest post during the tour.
Email your answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org