#BlogTour #Review ~ The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald @LindaMac1 @annecater

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket follows the story of two women who are each struggling to let go of a long-term destructive partnership. Felicity is reluctant to detach from her estranged archaeologist husband and, after being banished from the family home, she sets out to test the stability of his relationship with his new love, Marianne.

When Felicity meets Coll, a charismatic artist, she has high hopes of being distracted from her failed marriage. What she doesn’t know is that he has a partner, Sarah, with whom he has planned a future. Sarah is deeply in love with Coll, but his controlling behaviour and associations with other women have always made her life difficult. When he becomes obsessed with Felicity, Sarah’s world collapses and a series of events is set in motion that will challenge the integrity of all the characters involved.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a thought-provoking book, written from the perspectives of Sarah and Felicity. The reader is in the privileged position of knowing what’s going on for both of the women, while each of them is being kept in the dark about a very important issue.

Inspired by the work of Margaret Atwood and Fay Weldon, Linda explores the issue of mental abuse in partnerships and the grey area of an infidelity that is emotional, not physical. The book will appeal to readers interested in the psychology of relationships, as well as fans of Linda’s ‘Lydia’ series.

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About the Author

Linda MacDonald was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria. 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 in a secondary school in Croydon for eleven years before taking some time out to write and paint. In 1990 she returned to teaching at a sixth form college in south-east London where she taught psychology. For over twenty-five years she was also a visiting tutor in the psychology department at Goldsmiths’. She has now given up teaching to focus fully on writing.

Her four published novels Meeting LydiaA Meeting of a Different KindThe Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket can each be read independently but are also a series.

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My Review

After reading two of Linda’s previous books I knew vaguely what to expect from her writing style this time. The Man in the Needlecord Jacket can be read as a stand alone but you will definitely benefit from reading the others to become accustomed to the characters.

If you are looking for a flimsy, light chick-lit this isn’t it. The beauty of this author is her ability to get into the minds of her characters and portray the reality of life to the reader. As we get older circumstances change, the first full flush of youth disappears and relationships tend to take on substance.

Sarah has been hurt in the past, she has been with Coll (not Colin!) for ten years and lays her heart on the line for him, he is an absolute cad, he treats her like dirt and openly chases and catches ‘other women’. Why oh why does Sarah tolerate him!? I could see her desperation at not wanting to be alone but from an outsiders point of view she should have kicked him to the kerb long ago.

Felicity is regretting her dalliance with the much younger Gianni and wants to scurry back to husband Ted, her problems lie with Marianne who has since become involved with Ted. Coll shows up at Felicity’s restaurant one day and sweet talks her into displaying some of his artwork .. charismatic, slime ball that he is, soon begins flirting with her.

Now to my mind if Felicity was determined to be apologetic and give her marriage another chance she would not have been tempted by Coll. Meanwhile Sarah is being used and abused by him yet again.

This is told from Felicity and Sarah’s point of view so you really get to know them both and can feel the anguish emanating all round. I felt desperately sorry for Sarah but feel she should have stood up for herself, I wasn’t overly keen on Felicity and as for Coll, well I know what I would have done to him if he stepped out of line. 

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is totally absorbing, it explores human nature and relationships and possibly delves where some other authors are afraid to tread. It is the kind of book that continues to ring in your ears long after finishing it as it slowly slots into place and various possible scenarios unfold, or perhaps that was just the way my mind worked!

Thanks to Linda for my copy and Anne from Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour. I read and reviewed voluntarily.


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