Lindsay (Little Reader Library)'s Reviews > Untying the Knot

Untying the Knot by Linda Gillard
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Oct 23, 12

bookshelves: contemporary-fiction, romantic-fiction
Read from December 25 to 27, 2011

'We set each other free, free to prove we could live without each other.'

Untying the Knot is a beautiful, character-driven novel, depicting the devastating consequences of post-traumatic stress disorder, resulting from a life spent in war zones, making bombs safe. Magnus has been severely affected by his former role, traumatised by flashbacks and scarred by horrendous memories, and his now ex-wife Fay has borne the brunt of his erratic behaviour until one day she could take no more, and she finally left him and moved on.

Magnus now has a new partner, Nina, who lives with him in the home that he previously shared with Fay. Tullibardine ‘Tully’ Tower, a place that takes on such an important role in the novel that it is like a character in itself, a formidable old 16th-century ruin, that Magnus insisted on taking on, restoring, against all protests from Fay that it was too much. Daughter Emily remained with her father, and has a new love, Rick, and there is talk of marriage.

This is another beautifully written, emotional novel with depth in terms of characterisation and plot. I will be honest and admit I have genuinely loved and enjoyed reading every book that I have read by this author, but this one is probably my favourite. I am keen to read it again. It was one of the very first books I read on my Kindle and it was certainly a fine one to being with! I was gripped by this story and felt drawn into the characters' lives.

I loved the way the characters were revealed in the opening chapter and thought this was very cleverly written. Linda Gillard has done her research on the topics incorporated into the story here, and has handled them sensitively but always with realism.

The idea of memory is strong in this novel. For Magnus, memories are rife with 'demons.' Fay meanwhile deals with the memories of others, creating textiles for people, 'picture-histories':

'I spend my working life preserving other people's memories, trying to capture them in a form of textile 'still life', but I spent much of my marriage watching the man I loved being tortured - all but destroyed - by the demons of memory.'

Another strong emotion felt by Fay is fear: 'I was scared...Scared of how much I loved Magnus; how much my body wanted him; how much he wanted me; how I might fail him; how he might fail me;...I was scared of how ill Magnus was and how ill he'd always be...'

I enjoyed discovering aspects of the old tower and the history of the place which were described within the book.

There was also surprise and humour alongside the sadness and the more serious elements of the storyline.

This author seems to grasp how to write convincingly about love and emotion, the highs and lows, the intense passion and the deep pain, none more intense than that shared between Magnus and Fay here.

They are rounded characters who are flawed, scarred, confused, vulnerable and therefore so very human, so believable, and so compelling for the reader. They may be able to live without each other, but have they ever stopped loving each other?

The ending is thrilling and brilliant!

I think the cover of this one is beautiful.

A marvellous read.
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message 1: by Linda (last edited Oct 23, 2012 08:40AM) (new)

Linda Gillard Thanks for this terrific review. So pleased you enjoyed it. :-) (I'm the author.)


Lindsay (Little Reader Library) Linda wrote: "Thanks for this terrific review. So pleased you enjoyed it. :-) (I'm the author.)"

Thanks for taking the time to comment Linda. It's a great book.


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