This is the story of Rose Leonard who is running away from her life. She ends up on the island of Uist off mainland Scotland where she joins a community who do not judge her and just accept her. Accept her is the mad woman who wants to live alone in a place she was not brought up to.
But living alone is what Rose wants; she can throw herself into her work creating textiles from scraps of materials that are displayed as pieces of art work. Making quilts to help keep her focussed and stop drifting back to the past which is still running after her.
Rose knows she needs to bury her ghosts of the past and her new life here gives her the opportunity to do so. Calum becomes Rose’s help who props Rose up physically and emotionally and who recognises the demons that some of us have to fight on a daily basis. Can Rose cope with this help or should she stick to what she thinks is the best way of dealing with her life, being isolated, alone and in silence where nothing can touch her?
Linda Gillard’s book has so many different elements to it. It is a love story between Rose and Calum. Calum is portrayed as the wonderful man, who comes along and sweeps women off their feet into his arms and protects. His role as a teacher makes him all the more endearing and even the fact that he can cook helps. I would be convinced by him to eat proper porridge! The relationship between the two characters is so emotionally charged, that you can feel it coming off the page. I had to keep reading, I wanted to see what would happen to two characters I could relate to but grew to love from very early on in the book.
Gillard also deals with mental illness in such a careful measured tender way, that you would actually not realise that she has given her main character, Rose Bi-Polar Disorder (Manic Depression). As the book goes on, you are not really sure what Rose is running from. But as you read you fit the pieces together, a bit like picking stones up off the beach until you have filled your bucket and can carry no more. As readers we find all we can and then we have to hope that Rose makes the right decision for herself.
The subject is dealt with so effectively that I would recommend it as essential reading to someone who has little or no knowledge on this particular order but also other depressive illness. It resonates on so many levels even sufferers can pick up the strands of thought and understand.
The scenery and imagery of the cottage where Rose lives is depicted that I could feel the wet weather start to seep in my bones as I could the wind blow the fresh air through and clear the head. This is a place where you have to be very hardy all year round to tolerate the seasons. Geology of the landscape is described as the basis not just of the title of the book, but also Roses projects to get working again but this time collaborating with Calum.
An excellent read a must in fact. Linda Gillard manages to create a tale so clear, tight and concise I actually wished the book would last for another 300 pages. An author who can cross genres in all her books and even in chapters within the books is well worth a read to anyone that wants a change.
I read this book in a day. That is how good it was and is. It is a book which I will keep on my shelf and know I will read it again and again. I picked the book up at the right time for me and it was like receiving some sort of treatment. I felt so drained reading the book that it was the most wonderful feeling and even more so when you recognise someone else out there understands. I left it a couple of days before I wrote my review because I was so emotional about the book, I am not sure what I would have typed.
As a sufferer of depression, though not the same category as Rose, there was much I could recognise. The feeling of just wanting to sleep, sleep and sleep some more. The throwing yourself into some sort of purpose, crafts in my case as well. There gives a satisfaction for me that I have achieved something, no matter how small it seems it is an achievement and all forms my wellness plan that I have. Even if I think today I will clean one drawer out – it is an achievement and for that I feel better. I love keeping lists, I feel I am prepared. Reading has also become another form of coping. Immersing myself has been a joy and this blog has then helped me witter on. All my little strategies work for me, but it has taken some time and heartache to find the ones that do. Everyone is different and this book certainly recognises that.
Do not think that a book on such a subject is depressing in itself. I can understand why people would think that, but it really isn’t the books can reach out to you on so many levels and appeal to so many readers of different genres. I know that Linda Gillard has faced some publishing problems because of this and that is why her books are available as e books including her latest one House of Silence which I reviewed here.
Thank you to Linda Gillard for sending me a copy of this book. I shall treasure it and know I will read it again. If you want to know more about Linda’s books and Linda herself then pop over to her website.
I recommend also reading Patrick Gale – Notes from an Exhibition which also deals with bi-polar disorder. Another book which I found has stayed with me for a long time.