Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Glass Guardian by Linda Gillard - Excerpt & Author Guest Blog




I am delighted to welcome author Linda Gillard to the blog today! Linda has kindly written a guest post introducing us to her novel, The Glass Guardian, and has also provided us with an excerpt from the story for us to read and enjoy. 

THE GLASS GUARDIAN - Guest Blog by Linda Gillard



THE GLASS GUARDIAN is a ghost story - an old-fashioned ghost story with a large neglected house and a vulnerable heroine at its heart. Nowadays most paranormal romances feature vampires or werewolves, urban settings and prolonged sex enjoyed by attractive young heroines who are quite capable of fighting their way out of a tight corner, with or without the help of grouchy-but-gorgeous alpha male immortals. 

THE GLASS GUARDIAN is a very different sort of book. 


I’ve created no brave new urban world. My setting is an old Victorian house on the Isle of Skye: Tigh-na-Linne
, "the house by the pool", with its sad history and beautiful garden. My heroine isn't remotely kick-ass. She’s a rather reserved 42-year old horticulturalist, out of a job and recovering from a multiple bereavement. I’ve written no extended passages of Olympian and largely gratuitous sex. (But there is passion.) My ghost-hero is guilt-ridden, vulnerable and bone-weary of haunting. But I suspect he might break your heart. He broke mine.



I write fiction almost entirely for myself and always have. I wrote THE GLASS GUARDIAN because I wanted to read a different sort of paranormal love story, one without vampires, werewolves or shape-shifters. I wanted to create a ghost story – and a ghost – you could really believe in. Well, almost.


THE GLASS GUARDIAN deals with themes common to most of my books: memory, loss, grief, music, family, friendship and of course love. Several of my earlier novels examined the catastrophic consequences of falling in love with the wrong person. THE GLASS GUARDIAN asks, what happens when you fall in love with a ghost
?...

I hope you enjoy the answer.


~~~~~


Excerpt from Chapter 6 of The Glass Guardian


I tried to put the box and its contents out of my mind, but the following day it occurred to me that the key might have been in the lock originally or stored near the box. It must be very small, so perhaps Tom had missed it. It could have fallen to the floor when he was dismantling the wardrobe.

I took the box upstairs. As I turned the corner on the landing, I faltered, remembering the shock of recognition when I’d first seen the figure in the memorial window. I approached cautiously, eyes down, scanning the floor for a key, but I saw nothing, just dust and a few splinters of wood where Tom hadn’t cleared up thoroughly.

The hall was gloomy. The light of a dreary winter’s afternoon was further dimmed by the coloured glass through which it had to pass. I reached for the switch on the table lamp, then hesitated. The last time I’d done this, I’d seen mud and blood on the floor. But that, I chided myself, had just been a bad dream.

I switched on the lamp. As I examined the floorboards in front of the window, the light bulb flickered for a moment, then settled down. Variations in current were common on Skye, as were power cuts. Perhaps the bulb was about to go. I thought nothing of it. Almost nothing.

I finally spotted the key, wedged in a gap between floorboards, barely visible. I pounced on it, extracting it carefully, then, holding my breath, I inserted it into the lock. It turned easily and so – just call me Pandora – I lifted the lid. 

The box was crammed with letters, but these weren’t written by Tricia. They looked far too old. Peering at the envelopes, I saw they were addressed to Tigh-na-Linne, but to a Mr and Mrs J F Munro

James Hector’s parents.

I put my hand into the box to gather up the letters and found there was something solid underneath. A notebook or journal of some kind – old, battered and very dirty. I set the letters down on the side table and extracted the little book. As I handled it, my fingers dislodged powdery grains of dirt and, as in my dream, I thought I could smell damp earth and decay.

I put the empty box down beside the letters and opened the soiled notebook. As I turned them, its closely-written pages crackled with age. Some were stuck together, caked and stained with what looked like dried mud. And something else: a dull, reddish-brown substance. 

Blood.

As if my fingers had been burned, I dropped the book and clapped a hand to my mouth, stifling a cry. My nostrils filled with the stench of death and it was then the table lamp went out. 

I wasn’t plunged into darkness, but it took my eyes a second or two to adjust to the altered light. It took my body longer to adjust to the sudden change in temperature, as if every door and window in the house had been flung open to the dank November air.

As I stared at the notebook lying open on the floor, its blistered and blood-stained pages were turned by a breeze from nowhere. Then from behind me, a long, pale hand reached down, picked up the book and placed it carefully beside the letters.

A voice said, ‘D’you remember what lay at the bottom of Pandora’s box, Ruth?’

That voice. That beloved Highland voice: calm, low and musical; a voice I hadn’t heard since childhood. 

Unable to move, unable even to tear my eyes from the notebook, I whispered, ‘Hope’.

‘Aye… There’s always hope. You didn’t forget that, even if you forgot me.’

I wheeled round, inflamed by childish anger. ‘You forgot me!’

He stood before me, dressed, as always, in kilted uniform, his creamy skin of a pallor so unearthly, it seemed to glow in the twilight. His sad, blue eyes regarded me kindly and a half-smile played about his lips, twisting a mouth that my child’s eyes had never noticed was generous. He was shorter than I remembered and his eyes were now almost level with mine. Trembling, I beheld a slender young man of medium height, perhaps in his mid-thirties, but all these characteristics would strike an observer long after he’d noticed the man’s hair: a dark, vivid auburn, almost shocking against his ivory skin.

He sighed and the air grew colder still. ‘I didn’t forget you, Ruth. You stopped believing in me. So you couldn’t see me any more. I couldn’t make you see me. I can’t make anyone see me, unless they believe. D’you not remember your William Blake? If the sun and moon should doubt, they'd immediately go out.

~~~~~

Linda Gillard's sixth novel, THE GLASS GUARDIAN is a supernatural love story set on the Isle of Skye. 


It is available to buy now as an eBook for Kindle from Amazon UK and Amazon.com priced at £1.90/$2.99

Visit Linda's website here and find out more about The Glass Guardian.





About the author (from amazon UK): Linda Gillard lives in the Scottish Highlands, on the Black Isle. She has a website at www.lindagillard.co.uk and an author page on Facebook.
She graduated from Bristol University, then trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, Linda developed a sideline as a freelance journalist. She ran two careers concurrently for a while, then gave up acting to raise a family and write from home.
Twelve years later, she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught in Norfolk for some years. She moved to the Isle of Skye where she lived for six years in a house on a hill overlooking the Cuillin mountain range which featured in her first novel, EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY, short-listed for the 2006 Waverton Good Read Award.
A LIFETIME BURNING was published in 2006 and STAR GAZING, set partly on Skye, was published in 2008. In 2009 STAR GAZING was short-listed for "Romantic Novel of the Year" and "The Robin Jenkins Literary Award", the UK's first environmental book award. STAR GAZING was also voted "Favourite Romantic Novel 1960-2010" by the readers of Woman's Weekly magazine. Film rights to this novel have also been been sold.
Linda's fourth novel, HOUSE OF SILENCE was published in 2011 as a Kindle e-book and quickly became a bestseller, selling 10,000 copies in less than 4 months. HOUSE OF SILENCE was selected by Amazon as an Editor's Pick "Best of 2011" in the Indie Author category.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this excerpt, it looks really good - I have never read one of Linda Gillard's books but might just have to convince my Mum to lend me her Kindle so I can give them a go.

    When I was a kid the film version of Casper had me in tears every time when he was allowed to come to life for one night only to dance with Christina Ricci! I am totally down with the falling in love with a ghost idea.

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    1. Thanks for commenting and for following Marie. I have read a few novels by this author and enjoyed them all very much. You can also get a paper copy of Star Gazing.
      I love your comment about Casper and liking the idea of a character in love with a ghost!

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  2. I have this on kindle to read so skipped the chapter excerpt. Nice wee post

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. Thanks Lainy. I hope you enjoy it. I have started reading the book and am just past this part.

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  3. Ah, Caspar! :-) I'm sure I'm a lot older than you, Marie and I can remember reading Caspar comics when I was a kid. They were US comic books and I treasured them. (For some reason my mum didn't buy me books, but she bought a lot of comic books which I read and re-read till they fell apart.)

    Btw 3 of my novels exist in pb, though only one of them is still in print - STAR GAZING. You might find the older 2 on Amazon Marketplace or I have copies. But all the recent novels are Kindle only.

    Did you know you can download the Kindle app to read on PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Android & Blackberry?

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    1. Thank you for your reply Linda - I'm not sure why I got the impression that all your books were e-book only! I have heard nothing but glowing praise for Star Gazing so will definitely hunt down a copy!

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    2. STAR GAZING has proved very popular. I think a lot of that is to do with the hero, Keir! I conducted a poll on Facebook to find out which of my heroes was most popular and Keir won.

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