THE MAN IN THE NEEDLECORD JACKET
BY LINDA MACDONALD
Genre: Adult contemporary fiction; Domestic Noir
Release Date: 28th May 2017
Publisher: Matador – An imprint of Troubador Publishing
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.
As soon as I began reading this I took an instant dislike to Coll. What a selfish pig of a man! The whole world revolves around him and his needs. He has been in a ten year relationship with Sarah which has had its on-off moments as well as (she suspects) other women, whom she labels OWs. Both in their fifties, all the things he has promised her – a new home and an enjoyable retirement together – have yet to materialise. If this story had been written from the third person, I might have felt Sarah had brought a lot of this on herself. She is too accommodating, too reluctant to challenge his behaviour for fear of losing him. By virtue of the fact he was an artist he seemed in her eyes to be allowed this temperamental and I have to say, awful behaviour. But written from the first person and learning of her tragic past, I could see how this had influenced her attitude to life and Coll.
Enter restaurateur Felicity. Tall, attractive, self-assured. She’s everything quiet librarian Sarah is not. She’d abandoned her marriage a year ago to live abroad with a much younger lover. Now it has all gone wrong she’s returned, planning to build fences with her husband Ted, sure he’ll take her back. The problem is in her absence someone else has come into his life; a woman Felicity’s children are coming to accept.
Coll is looking for an outlet to sell his paintings, and what better than the bare white walls of Felicity’s newly opened restaurant? Felicity is very taken with this mature, handsome man and his teasing banter and agrees to his proposal. For a time it seems she’s keeping her options open with two men in the frame as Coll begins to show a healthy interest in her, spending time with her and asking her out to the theatre. I didn’t immediately take to Felicity. I could see she wanted her husband back for all the wrong reasons. If she had really been set on a reconciliation Coll wouldn’t have even figured in her plans. She seemed to want the best of both worlds, flattered by the attention Coll gives her. However, it’s when she learns of Sarah’s existence that we see the kind of woman she really is.
A great read. Written from Sarah and Felicity’s viewpoint I was able to get far deeper into each of the two women’s characters than if the story had been told from the third person. Coll was a cleverly drawn character – so easy to dislike. A man who breezed through life never happy with what he had, always wanting the next ‘out of reach’ thing. His obsession with Felicity was his undoing and I had absolutely no sympathy for him. A great five star read.
ABOUT LINDA MACDONALD
Linda MacDonald is the author of three independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind and The Alone Alternative. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.
After studying psychology at Goldsmiths’, Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.
Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham, Kent.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4870870.Linda_MacDonald
First prize signed paperback book bundle of all of Linda’s 4 books with 3 recipe cards and a bookmark. (uk only)
Second prize signed copy of The Man in the Needlecord Jacket + 3 recipe cards and bookmark (uk only) OR an ecopy of The Man in the Needlecord Jacket (International participants.)
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