Linda Gillard

A Lifetime Burning - Reviews

A Lifetime Burning - Reviews

A Lifetime Burning reviews

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A complex family drama spanning the 20th century from the author of
Kindle bestsellers, THE MEMORY TREE and HOUSE OF SILENCE.

"An absolute page-turner! I could not put this book down and read it over a weekend. It is a haunting and disturbing exploration of the meaning of love within a close-knit family... Find a place for it in your holiday luggage!"

"The emotional power makes this reviewer reflect on how Charlotte and Emily Brontë might have written if they were living and writing now."
Northwords Now

"This is Jacobean tragedy re-imagined. I came to that conclusion even before the heroine studied to become an actress and played Ophelia in the most famous of revenge tragedies. There’s an adjustment to modern taste: the body count at the end isn’t as high as the Jacobeans liked it, and the hero doesn’t wander around with his sister’s heart on a dagger – well, only metaphorically, anyway.

I’ve enormously enjoyed other books by Linda Gillard, such as Emotional Geology and House of Silence, but I think this moves up through several gears. It’s an impressive and powerful book. But, if I’m honest, I was troubled by doubt as I read it. I did wonder: isn’t it all a bit OTT? Then I asked myself, is the story believable? Do things like this ever happen? And also, being honest, the answer to both questions is, Yes. More often than most rather pallid novels of modern life would lead you to think.

The characters of A Lifetime Burning are fully imagined and vivid. I could see them, and hear them, and their motivations and emotions are such that you never doubt them. They could, would, do no other. And the book is beautifully written, the narrative controlled with great skill as it shifts between decades, covering a whole lifetime of burning, constantly giving us new perspective on the characters and events.

In that sense, the Jacobeans had a more accurate idea of 'realism' than us, and so does A Lifetime Burning. In fact, come to think of it, in comparison to the aforementioned real lives, it’s far more credible, perhaps because we know the people from the inside.

If you want a sweet love-story, tied up with a pink bow, and happy-ever-afters, then A Lifetime Burning isn’t for you. Jacobean tragedies are never sweet, and never end happily. They are vivid and gripping."

A review by Susan Price, award-wining author of children's and young adult novels, writing at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

"A bold and powerful novel about a family in turmoil."
West Highland Free Press

Four generations of Linda's family in the 1950s. Linda pictured centre.
Four generations of Linda's family in the 1950s. Linda pictured centre.

"Probably the most convincing portrayal of being a twin that I have ever read."
Simon Thomas blogging at Stuck-in-a-Book

"This book will affect you profoundly... It is also a goldmine for book club group discussions."
Rhapsody in Books Weblog

"Disturbing themes, sensitively explored... An emotional avalanche."
Lochcarron Reading Group