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

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Quintessential Gemini - Linn B. Halton




'The year will start with a bang and you won't be disappointed with the way it ends.'

Katherine is forty-two, and one day she finds she has been replaced in her job as an accountant despite all her hard work and success, and so she is hoping to start again, writing a book. We meet her, as she tells us, on 'day one of the rest of my life', at her home in the Cotswolds which she shares with her quirkily named cat, No.4, as she ponders this new and uncertain future. She reads her horoscopes keenly everyday, written by renowned astrologer Mark Ainsley-Thomas, and she’s ‘a Gemini, full of passion pulling in opposite directions.’

Mark is fifty-five, and we are introduced to him as he is forming a new working relationship with James Kingman, who is returning to work as an astrologer after a failed venture involving an art gallery. Mark tells us 'astrology is the love of my life. Nothing, not even a woman, has ever come between my first passion and me.' Mark is handing over the task of writing the daily and weekly readings on his website to James, to lighten his own workload a little, as he is becoming increasingly well known, and his agent is hoping to make him a star in the USA. Mark isn’t really interested in fame or money, he just wants to do his job accurately and well, and he is very perceptive in his assessments of other people. James is having a new start on all fronts, with his return to astrology, and his relationship also having ended. He feels guilty easily, and is a bit of a worrier.

Katherine receives her horoscope by email every day, but starts to notice that Mark seems to not quite be on form, or that something has changed, and decides to contact him after musing that ‘nothing seems to fit what’s actually happening to me anymore.’ Meanwhile, she finds herself volunteered to do a talk at the local Writing Circle, and her sister Cassie insists on trying to find her a new partner.

The story is narrated in the first-person in turn, primarily, by Katherine, Mark and James, giving us three different perspectives on events. The story progresses nicely, almost as a series of episodes, each with their own appropriate title which I liked, and it builds together as Katherine, James and Mark's lives all begin to intertwine. 

There is lovely dramatic irony as Katherine and James meet each other at a dinner party, with the reader aware of their connection, but the two of them blissfully unaware. There is some lovely humour created by a misunderstanding whilst emailing, and again we are party to more of the email mix-up than the characters are. 

This is a fun, enjoyable, character-driven story, well written, and fairly compact. As well as discovering the main characters' stories and finding out how the characters come to interact, there are other strands to the plot including the story regarding James' elderly neighbour, which add interest to the narrative.

Linn B. Halton has successfully depicted people at key turning points in their life, making observations about life, love, relationships, insecurities and independence. She writes with affection for her characters and a genuine enthusiasm and passion for, and evident knowledge of, astrology; Katherine's Gemini horoscope is incorporated into the storyline; it is a key element of her day and of the plot. If you are especially interested in astrology and following how the predictions in horoscopes are represented in your life, as Katherine does in hers here, you’ll find it even more engaging. A fun and heartwarming story for summer. 



Published by Sapphire Star Publishing on 7th June 2012. 

Thank you to the publisher for kindly sending an advanced copy ebook of this novel for me to read and review. 

You can follow Linn on twitter @LinnBHalton and visit her website here.

Linn is part of loveahappyending, click here to find out more

12 comments:

  1. Great review Lindsay and I can't wait to read this book. Linn is a wonderful author and a fantastic lady.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments Mandy.

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  2. What an interesting review of what sounds like a facinating book. I so love the idea of someone actually living their life according to their daily horoscope - what a fantastic premise! This is a must-read for me. Thanks for the review, Lindsay!

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  3. Great review, Lindsay of what I know is going to be a fascinating read. Already on my tbr list. Might just have to knock the pile over, restack and put on the top!

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  4. Lovely review Lindsay, it gives a great feel for the book.

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    1. Thanks for your kind comment Chris.

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  5. An interesting, thorough review and another book to add to my list of those to be read. I shall never believe in astrology but won't let that deter me! It might even persuade me, you never know.

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    1. Thank you so much for commenting Miriam :)

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  6. A final hug from my Lindsay - thank you for the lovely review. This one was fun to write as I was aiming for a summer read, or a rainy Sunday curl up in the chair! Thanks so much for taking time to review it. Lx

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment Linn! Lindsay x

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