Author: Linda MacDonald
Narrator: Harriet Carmichael
Length: 8h 43m
Publisher: Essential Music⎮2016
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release date: Nov. 17, 2016
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?
Born and brought up in the town of Cockermouth in the Lake District in England, Linda MacDonald has a degree in psychology from Goldsmiths’, London University, and a PGCE in biology and science. She retired in 2012 from teaching psychology in a 6th Form College in order to focus on writing, and has now published three print novels, the first of which is now an audiobook. She lives in Beckenham in Greater London, and travels to speak to various groups about the inspiration behind the ‘Lydia’ series and the psychology of internet relationships.
I’ve always loved doing voices. I grew up with Radio 4 being on constantly in the background. Somehow the voices and accents broadcast over the years soaked in. And now I do voices. Or if you ask my agent, I’m a “voice artist”.
For the last seven years I’ve spent most of my days in front of a microphone: as myself; as seven-year-old boys; talking baboons; angsty teenagers (usually American); androgynous talking cats; Glaswegian Grannies; the cast of The Archers…
After university I trained at The Oxford School of Drama and then acted mainly with touring theatre companies – some brilliant, some not so… I had a lot of fun, but once I started doing voiceovers in warm studios with good coffee, being on the road lost some of its appeal.
And the voice can do much more than people think. Tone, timing, pitch and accent can all vary depending on the job. From commercials and corporates to cartoons, computer games and audiobooks, it’s a brilliant job and, really, I owe it all to Radio 4.
I was offered the audiobook to listen to as part of the blog tour .. the cover image intrigued me straight away then when I read the blurb I figured it could be right up my alley! As a woman of a similar age I could empathise with Marianne on many levels.
She is married to Johnny, grown up daughter just left for uni, suffering empty nest syndrome as well as the dreaded ‘M’ word. She no longer feels attractive her hormones are making her exceptionally cranky and then she realises her hubby is spending time with a much younger work colleague who happens to be gorgeous! He spends more time at the pub and she begins to dredge up her past.
Poor Marianne went through bullying at school this has left her traumatised but she thought she had buried the demons. It’s when her daughter Holly suggests mum get’s a life and shows her how to join ‘Friends Re-united’ that Edward her school crush creeps back into her memory.
This book takes you across a whirlpool of emotions, dissecting childhood fears, teenage angst, marital problems, menopausal interruptions and strives to deal with them all so that possibly life can be rebuilt after a shake-up. It explores so many situations and really grips the heart, one minute I was agonising over whether Marianne and Edward could actually recreate a bond and the next laughing at some of the descriptions she uses about Charmaine, Johnny’s ‘friend’.
Marianne was quite an awkward character to warm to but she has her moments .. sometimes she could be infuriating though and I’m sure she wound Johnny up just to get a reaction in order to moan.
I do appreciate it when the title of a book is explained and it does become obvious why this is called Meeting Lydia, all part of the rich tapestry of life and ties the story up nicely.
The beauty of listening to this on audio was I could really get absorbed, the narration kept my interest and it was easy to differentiate between the characters. I always feel listening to a book gives a completely different opinion to ‘reading’ it. This one transferred well to audio and because it spanned over 8 hours it gave plenty of enjoyment. The sound quality is brilliant and I don’t hesitate in recommending this. It is also one of those stories which continues to make you think or reassess your own life once it has finished.
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