Gillespie and I
Back in 1888, the young, art-loving, Harriet arrives in Glasgow at the time of the International Exhibition. A ...more
My take on the ending...
Harriet is the classic unreliable narrator. The tale she has told is skewed from her viewpoint. She is a lonely figure who has gone to great lengths to ingratiate herself with the Gillespie family. I think many of the troubles the Gillespies encountered were probably down to Harriet - the drawing on the walls, the poisoned punch, many of Sybil's other crimes. and indeed the kidnapping of Rose.
In the 1930s section of the book we see Harriet's delusions coming to the fore, with her suspicions of every carer sent to help her.
At the very end I guess the Finch that lost it's partner is supposed to represent Harriet who lost Ned and who has indeed always felt alone (her mother died and her step-father has no interest in her). It is revealed that she owns "The Studio" although earlier in the tale Ned tells her an anonymous buyer purchased it. Harriet was the buyer and the fact she has this as well as the collar stud shows she was somewhat obsessed by Ned from their first meeting and that she likely went to Glasgow, got herself involved with the Gillespies on purpose and attempted to destroy the family "nest" just as she destroyed the finches nest. We are left to ponder how much of her tale is delusion and how much is true. (hide spoiler)]
This starts out as rather a fun romp with some silly characters and strange events and then becomes dark. I won't say anything more than that there is a mystery or two thrown into the mix and the reader doesn't know what ...more
The Book Report: There isn't anything I can say that won't be a spoiler here. The book description from Amazon says:
“As she sits in her Bloomsbury home with her two pet birds for company, elderly Harriet Baxter recounts the story of her friendship with Ned Gillespie—a talented artist whose life came to a tragic end before he ever achieved the fame and recognition that Harriet maintains he deserved.
In 1888, young Harriet arrives in Glasgow during the International Exhibition. After a c ...more
Following the resounding success of my Locus Quest, I faced a dilemma: which reading list to follow it up with? Variety is the spice of life, so I’ve decided to diversify and pursue six different lists simultaneously. This book falls into my GIFTS AND GUILTY list.
Regardless of how many books are already queued patiently on my reading list, unexpected gifts and guilt-trips will always see unplanned additions muscling their way in at the front.
If I didn’t stick to certain rules, I would buy bo ...more
If I'm being honest, I really enjoyed The Observations and that is the sole reason that I requested the book when I purchased it for the library. I was a bit worried that this would be another Swan Thieves for me, but she seems to have pulled off the second novel (after the first success) quite nicely. Speaking of second novels, I'm still waiting, Diane Setterfield. It's been six years... get your butt in gear!
I can't really write about the plot w ...more
I've never been the quickest of readers but this vibrantly written novel, weighing in at 500 plus pages, so engrossed me I devoured it in just 4 days. It seemed so innocent at first, beguiling me with its engagingly described cast of characters.
In 1933 Miss Harriet Baxter sits in her Bloomsbury apartment, tending to her caged finches and writing her memoir of the times she spent with Ned Gillespie over 4 decades earlier, an up and coming young artist, her dear friend, she du ...more
From BBC radio 4 Extra - 15 minutes drama:
Victorian gothic mystery by Jane Harris. In 1888, Harriet Baxter, an art-loving Englishwoman, arrives in Glasgow for the city's International Exhibition. She meets the Scottish painter, Ned Gillespie, and his wife, Annie - but tragedy is about to strike the Gillespies.
Dramatised by Chris Dolan.
The end was a bit disappointing but the book is quite good. Even if I asn't able to read the full story Gillespie and I by Jane Harris, an interestin...more
It pains me to give this book such a low rating, especially since I was so looking forward to reading it and most grateful for having won a free copy from GoodReads’s First Reads program.
I must say that I simply did not care for this book. I felt compelled to finish it and wanted to see how it ended, but I found myself really not caring about the story and certainly without any ...more
Harris creates a wonderful ...more
The story started off unassuming and light-hearted enough, but before long something about Harriet Baxter’s narrative felt off wh ...more
Harriet Baxter comes across a little-known artist named Ned Gillespie. She is a woman of means, a “spinster” in her mid-30s, and footloose after nursing an old aunt who has just passed away. After a brief encounter with the artist, she chances upon ...more
Well, I can assure you that if you were even remotely titivated by The Observations, then you will ...more
I'm sort of just going to flail and squee, and I'm not sure how helpful this review will be. Sorry!
In brief: this novel had everything I love in a great book -- wonderful writing, real characters, and a compelling plot that surprised me -- and I ...more
Gillespie and I is set in turn-of-the-century Glasgow. The story follows a woman called Harriet Baxter and her friendship with the family of an artist she admires, Ned Gillespie.
As Harriet gets to know the family, she shares in their ups and downs, including a tragedy that defines the lives of all involved.
Other than that, as others mention in reviews, there's nothing else I can say without spoiling things!
Harris beautifully s ...more
It's 1888, and Harriet, a woman of independent means who is about 35 years old, meets a young painter at a show in London. Coincidentally-- or perhaps not coincidentally-- she encounters him some months later in Glasgow, his native city, and swiftly, deliberately, get ...more
Elderly Harriet Baxter sits in her London home, thinking back to when she was a young woman, visiting Glasgow for the International Exhibition of 1888. There, she fell in with the Gillespie family, and became involved in an incident that was to impact both her and them for the rest of their lives. She slowly tells the reader the tale…
Slowly being the operative word. If this book had been half its length it would have been wonderful. Instead, it crawls along at a toe-cu ...more
|Gilliespie and I by Jane Harris||1||12||Apr 25, 2017 12:34PM|
|Bailey's/Orange W...: October Archive book Gillespie and I||40||59||Jan 03, 2017 02:25AM|
|Audiobooks: BBC Radio Drama: Gillespie and I||3||38||Oct 20, 2013 11:26AM|
|Lush Library: Gillespie & I - Spoilers||4||60||Feb 13, 2013 08:22AM|
Jane Harris was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and raised in Glasgow. Her short stories have appeared in a wide variety of anthologies and magazines, and she has written several award-winning short films. In 2000, she received a Writer's Award from the Arts Council of England.
She started writing by accident while living in Portuga ...more