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A Lifetime Burning [Paperback]

Linda Gillard
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 16 Jun 2006 --  

Book Description

16 Jun 2006
Greedy for experience but determined to be good, Flora Dunbar spends a lifetime seeking love, trying to build a future out of the wreckage of her past - an eccentric childhood spent in the shadow of her musical twin, Rory; early marriage to Hugh, a clergyman twice her age; motherhood, which brings her Theo, the son she cannot love; middle-age, when she finds brief happiness in a scandalous affair with her nephew, Colin.

"If you asked my sister-in-law why she hated me, she’d say it was because I seduced her precious firstborn then tossed him onto the sizeable scrap-heap marked Flora’s ex-lovers. But she’d be lying. That isn’t why Grace hated me. Ask my brother Rory..."



Product details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Transita (16 Jun 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905175256
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905175253
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 12.8 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 692,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Linda Gillard is the author of seven novels and she lives in the Scottish Highlands. She has a website at https://www.lindagillard.co.uk and an author page on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LindaGillardAuthor

Linda graduated from Bristol University, then trained as an actress at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Whilst under-employed at the National Theatre, she developed a sideline as a freelance journalist. She ran two careers concurrently for a while, then gave up acting to raise a family and write from home. At the age of 40 she re-trained as a primary teacher and taught for some years, then moved to the Isle of Skye where she lived for six years, writing full-time.

Linda's first novel, EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY was short-listed for the 2006 Waverton Good Read Award. STAR GAZING, set on Skye, was published in 2008. STAR GAZING was short-listed for "Romantic Novel of the Year 2009" and "The Robin Jenkins Literary Award", the UK's first environmental book award. STAR GAZING was also voted "Favourite Romantic Novel 1960-2010" by the readers of Woman's Weekly magazine.

Linda's fourth novel, HOUSE OF SILENCE was published in 2011 as a Kindle ebook and quickly became a bestseller. It was selected by Amazon UK for their Top Ten "Best of 2011" in the Indie Author category.

Linda's latest book is CAULDSTANE, a gothic novel in the romantic supsense tradition of Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt.

Product Description

Review

"An absolute page-turner! I could not put this book down and read it over a weekend." -- Lovereading.com, July '06

"Brilliant in every way, start to finish... The sheer beauty of this book is its biggest recommendation.' -- The Bluestalking Reader (bluestalking.typepad.com), July '06

"Disturbing themes sensitively explored... an emotional avalanche." -- Lochcarron Reading Group, NW Scotland

About the Author

Linda Gillard lives in the Scottish Highlands and has been an actress, journalist and teacher. She is the author of six novels, including STAR GAZING, short-listed in 2009 for Romantic Novel of the Year and HOUSE OF SILENCE, which became a Kindle bestseller and was selected by Amazon UK as one of their Top Ten "Best of 2011 in the Indie Author category. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'A canny and a clannish lot.' 10 Jan 2012
By L. H. Healy TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
As I write this, I am still thinking about this novel; it has stayed very much in my mind for days since finishing it. It is an enthralling, gripping story of several generations of the Dunbar family, and of forbidden, hopeless love that has tragic consequences. At the heart of the novel are twins Flora and Rory. Flora describes Rory as `my twin brother, my childhood companion, the other half of my life, the other half of my self', bringing to mind the feelings Cathy has about Heathcliff in `Wuthering Heights', of one not being whole without the other. I think it would be wrong to reveal much of the plot and themes here, as it adds so much to the experience of reading this novel if you discover it all for yourself page by page. Suffice it to say that the relationship between Flora and her nephew Colin, which is revealed in the synopsis of the novel, is by no means the only unorthodox pairing here. Music plays an important role in the book, with Rory emerging as a talented pianist, leaving Flora in his shadow. And endeavouring to be good, and `the possibility of loving and being loved in return', drives Flora and Hugh in particular.

The structure is inspired; the novel covers the years from the 1940's until 2000, but it is not a linear narrative, rather the author takes us backwards and forwards in time, and allows us to visit certain moments in the characters' lives. As the reader gets deeper into the novel, events take on new meanings, or more weight is given to a certain conversation or meeting, and truths are revealed. On finishing the book I, like many other readers, was keen to return to the first pages and read them again, knowing what I then knew, and understanding so much more.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars uncomfortable but page turning 16 Jun 2012
By Leri
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book. It's a complex and sad story and a tragedy. I have given it three stars because I can't say I loved it, or I enjoyed it even. It is certainly a good read though. The subject matter is uncomfortable, but I doubt Ms Gillard will make any apology for that. I have to be honest, much as it is difficult to like the characters in the book, by the end you do find some understanding and sympathy or pity for them. I commented part way through that I was struggling to get into it, but there was no way I wouldn't have finished the book.
It certainly has no happy endings and there is a lot of tragedy and uncomfortable situations along the way. Unbelievable to me also, but what do I know, this story convinces you that these characters feel a confusing kind of love, and who am I to argue with it, it clearly doesn't feel wrong to them. And that is their lifetime struggle.
I am off to read another book, that I hope will be a bit happier. :-)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling yet beautifully tragic 25 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A compelling, beautifully tragic read conveying some dark secrets about human nature, jealousy, envy and, above all, love. I found the book difficult to part with and at times like watching a tragic accident unfold - unable to watch yet to captivated to turn away. The torment in the book was very powerful even months after reading it I can recall the emotions it evoked. Despite this talk of a dark emotions, moods and torment overall I found it a beautiful read. The feeling that the characters were almost trapped on these paths - probably because the story is retrospective - did not remove the need to continue to follow these characters and watch their stories unfold like the petals of a blossoming flower. This was my first introduction to Linda Gillard's writing and I am very grateful to have made the discovery.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The complexities of Love. 23 Jun 2012
By Janet
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Linda Gillard is not scared to push the limits.
A Lifetime Burning, with it's tortured tale of twins Flora and Rory; pushes the boundaries of love in all of its many, complex forms.
I took a while to get into this one; beginning as it did with the death of the main character Flora Dunbar, but Linda's powerful writing swept me along. The subsequent recollection by Flora of her life story is related partly in a retrospective style, and it takes a little while to settle into the unusual narration of the story, and I have to admit I didn't quite warm to her characters in the same way I fell headlong into Emotional Geology, but Linda is such an accomplished writer and her unique fascination with all things emotional, gives everything a beating heart.
`One soul divided between two people' is how Flora describes the relationship with her brother Rory, and the impact of this fierce love spans across the twentieth century, pulling in the entire family with its web of denial, scandal, love and hate.
It's complex, uncomfortable and thought provoking, but I wouldn't have expected anything less.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful story 6 July 2013
By Carmel
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I couldn't put my Kindle down and read this (my fourth LG novel in as many weeks!) in just a few days. I think Linda Gillard is an amazing author - I doubt I will ever read a story on the subject of illicit love written any better.

I liked the way the story was told, going back and forth from one decade to another - this gave the reader a far more powerful insight into the characters, who were all superbly written - I felt I knew all there was to know about each of them.

It was a long story, but I was never bored, I just kept turning those pages. The story gives the reader a great deal to think about whilst reading, and after the book is finished. A truly worthwhile read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Only downside is
When I first started this book, I didn't get it! However, as I progressed, I found it hard to put down and picked it up at every opportunity to find out what happened next! Read more
Published 5 days ago by TheFrogster
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly remarkable
What an amazing author. I can't wait to read another novel by Gillard
An intricate plot of lies love and loss
The characters are well rounded and written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mally
4.0 out of 5 stars Potentially disturbing but very well written
A remarkable book. Potentially disturbing themes explored in a sensitive and realistic way.

Flora and Rory are twins; we follow their lives from their birth in 1942 up... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary
Very well written which makes it plausible. Unusual tale but much enjoyed and a page turner to the bitter end.
Published 5 months ago by Buttercup
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
This novel deals with some courageous topics which can be hard to read and even harder to understand but the author does build our sympathies and keeps the reader engaged.
Published 6 months ago by Anne-Marie Upton
3.0 out of 5 stars Controversy keeps interest going...
This is a good read about a controversial subject, crossing many social boundaries over the years that the novel spans. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Kym Hamer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
Enjoyed this book a different story line and subject from others I have read. Just one criticism the flitting about with the dates is a little confusing at times. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jayne Clegg
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, but uncomfortable read
This is a fascinating, but uncomfortable read! Some parts seem difficult to believe - that people can be so selfish - so self-absorbed - so unforgiving ... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Cl Warburton
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Thoroughly enjoyed this book every kind of skeleton was dragged out of this family closet and a whole lot more
Published 10 months ago by Deborah Sandford Fletcher
5.0 out of 5 stars a lifetime burning
I really enjoyed this book, a little unsettling at times but one I could not put down.It reminded me a little of Flowers in the Attic in that it was a relationship between... Read more
Published 10 months ago by stuart
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