Ruth is grieving, in a very short space of time she has lost the man she called her partner and companion suddenly, her father who although was perhaps rather distant since her mother died when she was young was still her father and her Aunt who became the surrogate mother and a main influence in her life. All of them have gone. Leaving behind their own legacies through memories and property.
Ruth has inherited a house on the Isle of Skye where she spent most her summers. She is there to remember her aunt and sort through those memories of the past that her aunt has left behind and lay some things to rest, so she can move on with her future. But with going through memories, it brings the past very much back to life. In fact it brings a past back which was even before Ruth was born.
I was a bit skeptical if not very skeptical about a book which features a character falling in love with a ghost. I have never been into anything paranormal either with reading, films or television. However, Linda Gillard has proved me wrong with this novel.
In fact you actually forget that there is a difference of hundred or more years and that actually it works, although I won’t deny that some bits were a bit strange, the descriptions of Ruth when she touches Hector made me shiver, and I was not sure about the love making. However, these are only small points that I personally was not sure about, by no means criticisms of the writing, which as normal from Linda Gillard is excellent. I felt the cold in the house, with the snow that made it more than a Christmas card scene but also was a reflection on the mood and temperament of Ruth. I could see the light shining brightly through the window which started the journey that Ruth went on throughout the book.
There are developments and twists that are perhaps unexpected and some that are quite expected but it is the joy of reading a book that’s sole focus is just not one theme – this is a romance, this a ghost story, this is a story about those who have lost, a musical tale which has captured a nation, a story of family secrets, family houses with stories of their own to tell, history for us all to understand and friendships that sometimes none of us can grasp! This is a Linda Gillard novel and it has everything in it and more, which is why it was a joy to read.
I have had this on my kindle for a just about a year. I did not read it immediately despite having every best intention, because it was at the time of losing my grandmother and whilst I am still grieving, I was perhaps a bit too raw to read something where grief is dealt with. Now nearly a year on, in some ways it has made me realise, that although I am not sure about believing in ghosts, those who loved you from the past are still very much with you in the present, they are here somewhere and without you perhaps realising they are helping you. There is many a time, when I think what would my nan have done or said about something, and immediately I know the answer or the right thing to do.
This book and like the others I have read of Linda Gillard was a tonic, that I picked up at the right time and it fulfilled something which I am not sure I can put into words. Thank you Linda. I look forward to what comes next.