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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative
Linda Gillard's third published novel has two marvellous settings, including a beautifully-created Edinburgh; and a wonderful, spiky, difficult heroine. I wanted to bang her head together with another character's a few times, but that was because I CARED about her! The supporting cast is wonderful and provides some giggles and sweet moments. The added dimension of...
Published on 30 May 2008 by LyzzyBee

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK
Of the four Linda Gillard novels I have read so far, I found this the least enjoyable. It was well written, but the story was a little sentimental for me. With the other LG novels I've read, although there has been romance, there has always been another theme running through the book as well - a mystery, a secret, paranormal activity etc. I kept waiting for this story...
Published 20 months ago by Little Bird


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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully evocative, 30 May 2008
By 
LyzzyBee (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
Linda Gillard's third published novel has two marvellous settings, including a beautifully-created Edinburgh; and a wonderful, spiky, difficult heroine. I wanted to bang her head together with another character's a few times, but that was because I CARED about her! The supporting cast is wonderful and provides some giggles and sweet moments. The added dimension of describing a character's experiences without using visual imagery gives the book a depth and interest that the casual reader might not expect - wonderfully evocative. An excellent read and highly recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Edgy and unpredictable - both the heroine and the book, 28 May 2008
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
By turns funny, heartwrenching and heartstopping, this novel is never less than engrossing. To involve the reader so completely and convincingly in Marianne's story is a terrific achievement. Marianne is a wonderful heroine - and this is coming from a reader who usually wants to slap heroines within five pages. She's spiky, occasionally bad-tempered, endlessly angry for very good reasons, yet she's also resourceful, independent, emotionally mature and vulnerable. She's real. The gorgeous Keir is not more than a match for her - he's just a perfect match, and a perfect fit. As for Louisa and Garth, they're terrific. I loved this book - and I wasn't sure, right to the last chapter, how it would end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful distraction that encourages you to treasure the gifts you were born with., 29 Sept. 2014
By 
English Rose "Su" (Hereford, West Midlands UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
This is one of my all-time favourite books. For me it is a beautiful distraction. Marianne Fraser is the strong heroine of the story not only is she blind from birth but she is fiercely independent.

Music fills her world and she is a great lover of opera she says it "pours a vision of a wider world into her ears" (taken from chapter 1) she also tells us in the same chapter "music goes directly to her heart, it pierces her soul and stirs her with nameless emotions, countless ideas and aural pictures". Simply beautiful.

One of my most favourite parts is early on in the book when Marianne meets Kier whilst seated in Edingburgh’s Royal Botanic Garden 'listening' to the trees. She tells us in Chapter 2 that she can find her own way to the ‘Botanics’ as she has “memorised her route as a sequence of numbers”.

In chapter 2 Kier asks Marianne if she would like him to describe himself to her. She asks at one point “if the colour of your hair were a smell, what would it be?” at first he says “That’s a tough one. It’s a rich brown. Goes a bit red in the summer.” “Useless. I need smells” Marianne tells him. Then on the second attempt he gets it perfectly right “Walnuts. Walnuts when you crack them open at Christmas”. Isn’t that description so delicious? Linda Gillard has got descriptive writing down to a pure art form.

From this beautiful book I learned how to cherish the gifts I was born with, I take nothing for granted. I purchased and now often listen to some of the music mentioned in the book. I close my eyes and listen to it from Marianne’s viewpoint. I love to walk around my environment and take in everything, especially when strolling through the woods. I inhale my surroundings; I listen to the wind & rain in the trees. Everything is so beautiful, oh and yes like Marianne I have been known to hug a tree or two. (My favourite local trees are the imported Redwoods in Queenswood, Hereford, West Midlands UK. The texture of the bark is amazing, they really invite you to touch them in my mind they are truly caress-able LOL)

A truly beautiful book & my favourite one of all time. One of the few books I read over and over again. Very highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars profoundly thought provoking..., 19 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
I finished reading ‘Star Gazing’ by Lind Gillard this week. Someone recommended it to me as one of ‘the best books ever written’ and not sure about that claim, but I did enjoy it. It was all about the life and loves of a blind woman, particularly apt for me now, as I am having problems with my own eyesight.
My optician can do no more to help me to see any better, but recommends that I take frequent breaks from books and the computer. When I asked how frequent, he thought that after every twenty minutes I should rest my eyes for ten minutes.
As you can imagine, this upset me a great deal as everything I love to do involves wearing my glasses. Refusing to co-operate is not really an option, for if I forget, I get the most awful giddiness and nausea.
So, was reading a book about blindness a good idea?
In a way it was, for far from being a sad book, I was introduced to a very different world, one full of the importance of touching, and noises, smells and emotions. The way someone can describe what the rest of us see, in such a way that a blind person can ‘see’ it too.
For example, ‘ice’ was described as ‘frozen music’.
What made me think was the power our memories have, and how somebody who has no memories can manage to create some, even if they cannot see.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Every now and then I am introduced to a story ..., 8 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
Every now and then I am introduced to a story that stays with me forever and this is one of those few.

Linda Gillard is a fearless and inspired writer who understands how to make her readers travel through the pages, contentedly learning about the characters she crafts.

I read the last chapter of 'Star Gazing' when I need inspiring and it never fails to make me smile.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Star Struck, 21 Oct. 2012
By 
Joanne Phillips (Shropshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
Wow. I defy anyone to read this book and not say Wow! First of all, what a brave move to step outside of conventional heroines and write about blindness in this way. If I didn't already know of Linda Gillard I would have assumed the author was blind, she writes about it so knowledgably, so authoritatively. There is more to this novel than meets the eye however, and Linda weaves a complex love story which resonates with the reader long after the book is finished. This is the kind of heroine I'd like to see more of in fiction - uncompromising, brave and self-reliant. A well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars star gazing, 12 Mar. 2012
By 
Ali (Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
This was an odd little book and I didn't know quite what it wanted to be when it grew up. It was part romance, part magical realism and part writing experiment. The story was told in three distinct ways: in first person from both Marianne's and Louisa's, her sister, POVs and, where these POVs didn't tell the story adequately, it was written in third person. The fact that Marianne was blind also added to the writing experiment feeling I got from it - trying to describe both Edinburgh and Skye, both places are gorgeous visual onslaughts, from a blind woman's perspective must have been fairly tricky. Then again, cities not only look different but they smell different, feel different and sound different to a country girl like myself, so I assume the reverse is true for Marianne.

And the book did sort of work for me actually. At least the first half did, anyway. The second half did frustrate me because it was just a bit repetitive. I enjoy stories which have multiple POVs and adding the third person narrative in there was just another POV as far as I was concerned. I didn't have an issue with this odd way of writing the book.

It also had nice mix of characters who I rather liked a lot. The prickly and fiercely independent Marianne's sections were always interesting to read in that they were obviously not visual in description. Keir's translating of the visual beauty of Skye into music was a creative and I now have a list of music I want to listen to (the book should really have come with a CD!). My favourite character, though, was Garth the Goth, Louisa's assistant. He never failed to amuse me and the relationship between him and Louisa was a fun distraction from the drama of Marianne and Keir.

One thing that irked me a bit as a Scot was that Garth the Goth had his Mockney accent written down on the page (`come `ere a sec') but, other than his `ayes' and `ochs', Keir didn't! The man was supposed to be from Skye, he is not going to be lacking in accent or dialect. Granted, he's does sound Scottish to me when I was reading (it's a rhythm thing, I think, interspersed with traditional words) but this never came across on page in the way the words were written. Then again, maybe I'm trying to project my own accent and language (Scots) into a place it was never spoken to begin with (Gaelic being the language of that area of Scotland).

Star Gazing was in interesting little read which mostly worked for me. I definitely enjoyed it as it wasn't cloyingly romantic and I will be reading more of Linda Gillard's novels soon.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Something different, 26 Mar. 2012
By 
Lainy (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
Time taken to read - 2 days

My Review

The book centers around 3 main characters, Marianne being the main one, her sister Louisa and Keir a stranger who happens upon her in a moment on need. Marianne is blind from birth and lives with her author sister. After a chance meeting Marianne and Keir form a relationship were opposites really do attract and their friendship threatens to spill into something much more.

The book is written between Marianne's point of view, then third person and then Louisa's. It works very well and is really easy to follow. The story goes along without any big fireworks or huge events, although there is a handful tottered out throughout the book (mostly in the latter half). What made the book for me was seeing the world through Marianne, how she experiences the world, colours and scenery when she has never had any visual reference, I also loved how Keir taught her how to see things.

I have never read a book like it, it isn't a conventional love story but about two people finding a middle ground when they are both from different worlds. It was lovely to see the friendship form and the relationship build. I found myself getting annoyed and frustrated with both Marianne and Keir and how their inability to be upfront with each other lead to so many "issues". Sorry to be vague but I hate spoiler reviews. Overall I really enjoyed the book, it was nice to read something so different, 4/5 for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Just OK, 9 July 2013
By 
Little Bird (Buckinghamshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Paperback)
Of the four Linda Gillard novels I have read so far, I found this the least enjoyable. It was well written, but the story was a little sentimental for me. With the other LG novels I've read, although there has been romance, there has always been another theme running through the book as well - a mystery, a secret, paranormal activity etc. I kept waiting for this story to develop another element, but it didn't. An enjoyable read, but not my favourite by this author.

I just have 'Emotional Geology' and 'Untying the Knot' waiting on my Kindle!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A strong delicate and beautiful story!, 4 Jan. 2015
By 
C. Kirby "Catherine Kirby" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Star Gazing (Kindle Edition)
This is a beautiful, imaginative and heart-felt story of a blind woman's courage and adventure into a future she's reluctant to engage trust. The description of how a blind person experiences life and just what the limitations and amazing gifts of instinct and innovation they might have was wonderfully insightful. It isn't easy to imagine being blind, no matter how hard a sighted person tries. It revealed how very frightening it would to be if one was so hindered, and yet this wonderful, strong-minded and, at times, pig-headed woman tackles things a sighted person would shrink from. She's feisty, vulnerable, strong and generous too. I loved the settings, the characters and the twists and turns of the plot. Marriane and her sister Louisa are contrasting characters that give the story breadth and add a touch of humour to a serious, delightful and amazing story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the ending of this intricate love story between Marriane and Kier had me guessing all the way to the end. Brilliant!!!
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Star Gazing
Star Gazing by Linda Gillard
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