The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald ** Blog Tour Review**

 Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Man in the Needlecord Jacket which I am sure you will enjoy as this is a book which is a little out of the ordinary. Linda MacDonald has written four novels: Meeting Lydia and its standalone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. Today, we are concentrating on just one of them.

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.

  My Thoughts 

This is a book which gathers you in from the start. Sarah and Felicity are so well drawn that you feel no qualms at all in stepping inside their thoughts and seeing the world through their eyes for a time. I always enjoy narratives which present the reader with multiple perspectives. It feels quite fresh to be picking up with characters in their mid-life period. Coll, the object of both women's affections is difficult to like. You feel for both women as their emotions are dissected. Both women gradually show their insecurities. I feel for Felicity who has to try to re-establish her life and relationships, having risked it all on an affair which has gone horribly wrong. Not that Sarah is easy to understand. She has allowed herself to be controlled by Coll for years, her weakness being her love for him. 

    This is a book which has interesting things to say about intimacy and infidelity. Just because the characters are middle aged, they prove themselves to be just as vulnerable to being manipulated and ill- used. I enjoyed the way that both women have moments of insight and shared understanding. Mental abuse, controlling, narcissistic behaviour and infidelity are all important themes in this thought provoking book. It is well written and the two perspectives dovetail together quite smoothly. If you want a book which will make you think about the human condition, this is it.

In short: thought provoking, great characterisation and insight.

  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 Lydia, A Meeting of a Different Kind, The Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket can each be read independently but are also a series. A fifth part is at the embryonic stage.

You can follow Linda here: Twitter   |  Goodreads Author Page

Book links: Amazon UK  

Thanks to Linda MacDonald and Matador Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.

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