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Thursday, 15 September 2016
The Trysting Tree by Linda Gillard
Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights. (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought: I’ve read and enjoyed at least three of Linda Gillard’s previous novels now, so I looked forward in anticipation to catching up with her latest The Trysting Tree.
This is an enchanting and compelling story of love and loss over a hundred years, all set beneath the leafy boughs of the ancient trysting tree which has hidden the secrets of many women in its lifetime. The idea is charming in its originality and worked well for me, passages written both in a modern day scenario, where the current owners of the house and gardens discover through long-forgotten diaries and letters, the love and loss of a previous generation of occupants.
I’ve read novels with similar narratives before, and the key to making the novels work is the ability to connect the reader with the character – and I’m pleased to say I think the author really nailed it here. The modern day story between Ann and Connor was well written, the baggage of their respective pasts finally revealing itself as their love deepened. And in the historical thread, the triangle the author weaved between a previous mistress of the house and her staff was gripping and emotional.
I have a real soft spot for novels that blend elements of present and past so that the reader is presented with a satisfying tapestry of stories, which, when done well blend together effortlessly for a satisfying conclusion. Every box was ticked in this novel by a talented writer.
Highly recommended for people new to Linda Gillard’s work and for fans of her writing this is certainly up there with the best.
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Jan Ruth, Elizabeth Harris, Gill Paul.
Avoid if you don’t like: Country living and artistic folk.
Ideal accompaniments: Blue cheese and a large Chardonnay spritzer.
Available on Amazon