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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
This was one of those books that I couldn't put down. I found it a fascinating read as we gradually find out what has happened in the past. I also enjoyed the three different perspectives that the story was written in - from Rose's perspective, from an onlooker's perspective, and from deep inside Rose's mind. I also enjoyed the way that my original views of characters get...
Published on 3 Mar. 2012 by Kew

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Geology
Rose is a woman on the run - not from a physical enemy but from her memories and the skeletons in her closet. She's been through an agonising break-up, her relationship with her only daughter is strained, and any friends she once had have grown distant. The only way she can possibly conceive of getting her life back on track is to pack up the essentials and move as far...
Published on 7 Feb. 2013 by Marie


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 3 Mar. 2012
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This review is from: EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY (Kindle Edition)
This was one of those books that I couldn't put down. I found it a fascinating read as we gradually find out what has happened in the past. I also enjoyed the three different perspectives that the story was written in - from Rose's perspective, from an onlooker's perspective, and from deep inside Rose's mind. I also enjoyed the way that my original views of characters get challenged as the story progresses. I view this as one of the best books that I have read on my kindle.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic, moving and beautiful, 22 July 2009
This review is from: Emotional Geology (Paperback)
Rose Leonard has moved to North Uist, a Hebridean island off the west coast of Scotland, to start afresh after having a mental breakdown. There she meets Calum, a man as deeply flawed as she is, although she doesn't realise this at first, as she is so absorbed in her own feelings. Slowly she comes to realise that she is not the only person to have experienced tragedy and hurt.

Without giving anything away, there is a part of Calum's story that made me cry and was so very moving. This is the third Linda Gillard book that I have read (having read them in reverse order) and I love them all so much. The writing in Emotional Geology was superb, and interesting with the change between first and third person, which worked very well.

I came away with such strong feelings from this book that it left its effect on me for a while after reading it. I heartily recommend this author. I loved her descriptions of North Uist too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original, different and simply wonderful, 8 May 2013
By 
Debbie Young "Debbie Young" (Gloucestershire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY (Kindle Edition)
When a friend recommended this writer to me, I chose to read Emotional Geology first because it offered lots of ingredients guaranteed to draw me in: the intruiguing Hebrides, where I'd recently holidayed; a love of textiles and quilting; the brooding presence of the Munros and hillwalking (my Scottish husband's passion); plus a beautiful, evocative image of the Highlands & Islands on the cover (even though I was planning to read it on a monochrome Kindle!) The theme of bipolar was not so much a draw in itself, but its balanced view from within of what it is like to live with that disorder added further interest and poignancy to this rewarding story.

It's a moving tale of a woman damaged by past loves and losses and her attempt to face a meaningful future.

I adored the style in which the complex tale was slowly, meticulously unfolded. It was intelligent, controlled, and masterful: I felt I was putty in the author's hands. It is certainly one of the best books I've read this year, and I'm now going to work my way through the rest of her books (and I'm glad to know that she's writing more - always good to find that a writer you enjoy is prolific!) Even though they sound quite different in some ways, I'm sure they'll be well worth reading.

By the way, having read quite a few books set in the Hebrides, both fiction and autobiographical, I felt this was one that the locals would appreciate - respectful, honest about the harshness of the conditions there, yet celebratory of their lifestyle and never ever patronising, as some books about the islands have been. If the Scottish Tourist Board isn't already selling this book in its shops, it's missing a trick!

It's also one of those books that once I'd read it on Kindle, I just had to buy the paperback too, not only because it will look beautiful on my bookshelf (Kindle, much as I love you, you're no use on that score) but because I know it's a book I'll want to dip into again, to re-read and to show and recommend to my friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Geology, 7 Feb. 2013
By 
Marie (Manchester, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY (Kindle Edition)
Rose is a woman on the run - not from a physical enemy but from her memories and the skeletons in her closet. She's been through an agonising break-up, her relationship with her only daughter is strained, and any friends she once had have grown distant. The only way she can possibly conceive of getting her life back on track is to pack up the essentials and move as far away from her old world as she can imagine. She arrives at her little cottage on the island of Uist determined to clear her mind of any distractions, throwing herself into a reclusive existence devoted to her work as a textile artist.

Of course, if fiction has taught us anything it's that no matter how remote the location or improbable the situation, the likelihood is that an attractive man will turn up and thoroughly complicate matters. Enter Calum, a born-and-bred Uist man who writes poetry and teaches at the local school. Initially Rose thinks his brooding demeanour and fondness for whisky is just the Hebridean way, but in actual fact he has emotional scars of his own that he is trying to hide.

I have to be honest and say that the romance in this novel didn't especially grab me. The two main characters are both well-developed and likeable, and the plot held my interest sure enough, but I guess romance just isn't my subject matter of choice.

Where it excelled for me is in Gillard's portrayal of the landscape of Uist. Let's put it this way; I had never even heard of the place before reading Emotional Geology. But now after I've finished it, my boyfriend is slightly puzzled by the stream of hints I have been dropping about summer holidaying in the Outer Hebrides. She perfectly conveys the bleak beauty that is to be found there. I got completely lost in her descriptions of the wild beaches and stone circles. The sense of island life you get is also really interesting - a strange middle ground between complete isolation and a claustrophobic sense of everybody knowing everybody else's business.

I was also impressed by the way in which Rose's bipolar disorder was dealt with. I can't think of many books I've read that have illustrated the manic phase of this illness particularly well - unfortunately I can think of a handful of titles that have done it especially badly, where characters have suddenly turned into some caricature of a psychotic monster and lost all sense of reality! But it was done very sensitively here and I thought the frenetic, disorganised thought patterns were shown perfectly.

I am not really a fan of romantic fiction on the whole but this book has reminded me that it isn't all fluffy and overly sentimental. I will certainly be looking for more of Linda Gillard's books to try. If you like to read love stories then you should definitely consider giving this a go.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard, 24 Aug. 2011
This review is from: EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY (Kindle Edition)
Rose Leonard moves to the remote Gaelic speaking island of North Uist, off the west coast of Scotland. She wants to embrace the silence and solitude of the island and be alone, she wants to escape from her past and have a fresh start. Rose is an intelligent and very creative woman. She occupies her time by making textile art from leftover scraps of material. This is what Rose does to relax and she tries to use this to help heal her self from the past. However, her memories and the past she is trying to escape are haunting her.

She meets Calum who lives on the island a published poet and climber who is now working as a teacher. They become friends and there is an attraction between them. They decide to work on a project together. When Rose's daughter arrives to stay, we learn more about Rose and her past. Calum cares deeply for Rose but he has his own demons to exorcise from the past. Can they put the past behind them and move forward with their lives?

Emotional Geology is a great read; it has two great characters that really pull you into the story. I read the book from cover to cover. What I like about this book is the way that poetry is used throughout the story, this really helps you to get inside Rose's head and help you to understand how she is feeling and thinking. The characters are interesting and the more the story unfolds the more you learn about their pasts. A really great storyline that is written in a honest and sensitive way that I am sure many readers can relate to the issues that come up in this story. Another great story from Linda Gillard.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unputdownable!!, 17 May 2009
This review is from: Emotional Geology (Paperback)
This is the second Linda Gillard novel I have read (Iknow, Iknow - I've not read them in the right order!!) and just like Star Gazing I just couldn't put it down!! I absolutely LOVED it!!

I loved the gorgeous setting and the whole premise of the novel - the haunted pasts, differences in age, their creativity, mental illness - I could go on ;0)

I find Linda's style really engaging to read and I everytime I put her novels down I am ravenous for more & again she doesn't disappoint. The twists and turns of the plot line are more than satisfying and I now want to live in Scotland, stare longingly into the stunning sunsets and write poetry! What an effect :0)
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eventually a feel good read!, 28 Aug. 2005
By 
D S Richards (Truro, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Emotional Geology (Paperback)
I bought this book after hearing a heated debate about the publisher of this book Transita, Grown books for grown women, on the radio! I wanted to judge for myself I regard myself as a grown woman and this book deserves a far wider readership than this off putting strap-line will attract! Do not be put off! It is a pity that this beautiful novel has been caught up in the categorisation and marketeers posturing currently gripping the book trade.
The writing has a lyrical almost poetic style, indeed some of it is written as poetry. The descriptions brought island Scotland to life, having visited these communities before their depiction here was detailed without being weighed down and a sense of place was well drawn and remained valid throughout. That unique feature of rural life where community is knitted into its landscape is beautifully acknowledged here. A feature often missing in novels about contemporary rural life.
The flashback voice is really well used and some of its juxtapositioning is particularly fine, impressing on the reader the author's very real understanding of some difficult issues particularly in the handling of mental health and its impact on a whole host of relationships within a small community. I was particularly impressed with the 'self absorption' of Rose, the main character. It is an important factor in the understanding of mental ill health and its impact is excellently told.
The cast of characters is short, on the whole they are both plausible and well upholstered. I liked the way that some were developed with depth and others waned as the novel progressed. There are unexpected story lines and some of them are quite resonating and memorable. In addition there are other themes, such as using creativity, in this case quilt making, as a counterpoint to stress that are clearly deliniated, well used and inspiring.
At heart this is undeniably a romantic novel but it has far more to it than that description implies. Yes on one level it fits the publishers 'target audience' but if read carefully and thoroughly it introduces the reader (who could and should be both men and women!) to some difficult and complex issues. I hope there will be more books from this author but perhaps a different publisher. A good read, written with a real sense of place and a understanding of the human state.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'I move to prove to myself that I am not drugged, that I have willpower and can use it. See me - I can move. I exist. I am me.', 7 Nov. 2013
By 
L. H. Healy "Books are life, beauty and truth." (Cambridgeshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY (Kindle Edition)
'I move to prove to myself that I am not drugged, that I have willpower and can use it. See me - I can move. I exist. I am me.
The first battle of the day is fought and won.'

Emotional Geology was Linda Gillard's debut novel. She has since written five more novels, most of which I have read. I was drawn to reading this one in particular, and yet also hesitant about it, because it deals with mental health. I'm so glad I've read it now. It's a beautiful, sad, evocative and romantic tale that felt very real and honest.

We meet 47 year-old textile artist Rose Leonard living on the island of North Uist in the Outer Hebrides, in a small community, wrapped up in her work, relishing the quietness and peace of her surroundings, trying to escape, or at least find some acceptance of, the traumatic events in her past that still dominate her thoughts. Her main human contact is occasional encounters with her nearest neighbour Shona and her family, and corresponding by letter with her own daughter, Megan. One day Rose meets Shona's brother Calum, a teacher and poet who is younger than her and is blighted by his own scars from the past.

Linda Gillard captures relationships believably and with Rose and Calum she has depicted an attraction between two very damaged souls; their respective paths in life and love so far have been neither smooth nor easy, but together they make for a passionate, creative couple - though it won't be an easy journey for them. I felt totally immersed in their story as I read. Love, relationships and desire are themes at the heart of this story but it should by no means be filed away simply under `romantic' fiction as there is so much more to it than that, in particular the importance of place and the search for sanity.

The author conveys the passion that Rose has for her craft, the freedom of expression she finds in her artwork, an outlet for both her inner joys and demons. In Rose she portrays the manic, frenzied highs and desperate, crippling lows of bipolar depression. A mental illness can place enormous strain on relationships and the challenges of that are dealt with skillfully and honestly here. I felt Rose's anguish and reluctance to move forwards into a new relationship, to allow herself to risk being hurt, or to risk trusting Calum, when she was so haunted by her previous partner Gavin; he was still such a presence for her and dominates her thoughts, as Megan tells Calum, `She may be physically distant from him and distant in time...But she's still living with him. He's in her thoughts, inside her head...'

But I could feel that she sensed there was a chance for her to know new happiness, if she was brave enough, and strong enough, to take it. In Calum we have a sensitive, caring and handsome man, a mature, damaged hero if you like, and Rose is a mature lady, `too young to be widowed and too old to be looking for a mate. I occupy that no man's land - no woman's land - between youth and old age.' This is a theme that this author often considers; a lead female character in her forties or fifties, not in the early stages of her life but by no means near the end either, and what that is like. Rose's relationship with daughter Megan is also evidently difficult and as the story unfolds we discover some of the reasons why. I felt for the position Megan was in, and how difficult it could be sometimes, even if I didn't agree with all of her behaviour.

Even at some of the darkest times, though, and in the most difficult situations there are still wonderful moments of humour, and the author has a gift for this in her writing.

The setting plays a big role in the novel; it is a place of escape, a bleak yet stunning landscape as backdrop to the growth of this new love. The title of the novel is a clever choice. Rose has chosen to live on 'female' North Uist for a reason; even the structure and feel of the land gives her more peace than a 'male', more mountainous landscape such as that on Skye - `masculine country of hard edges and angles...male and exciting' - would:

`The landscape here on North Uist is female: pale, undulating, yielding. There are no cliffs or mountains, no wide rivers, no great heights or depths, not even many trees. There are sparkling lochans like jewels, wild flowers scattered on the dunes like bright beads, burns that chatter and gurgle like Shona's children. I feel safe here, even in the teeth of a gale. To be sure, the wind and sea seem male, gnawing away at the land, occasionally beating her into submission, but they come and they go, like the fishermen.'

I could picture some of the scenes in the novel and imagine the places as they are evoked so memorably. I would love to visit this place - Uist - one day and compare it to what I have seen of Skye.

As well as artistry and expression with textiles and words, the novel explores the pursuit of climbing, and what drives some of those who venture up some of the world's most challenging climbs. Though I have a passion for hillwalking myself, I wouldn't describe myself as a climber and it was interesting to read about characters for whom the challenge and risk of climbing is so much a part of their lives, a need they must fulfill.

I found this a moving and at times painful read; parts of it, in particular those dealing with Rose's health, really touched me. I thought Rose's illness was portrayed honestly and the impact of it on both her and those around her was believable. These characters intrigued me and have stayed in my mind. I enjoyed the inventive narrative structure incorporating first person, third person, letters and poetry into the storytelling. At times the prose was blunt and crisp; just right for conveying some of the very raw, stark emotions. I liked the symbolism in the story and how trees were important at the very start and again at the very end.

A heartfelt and unforgettable book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite simply brilliant, 14 Oct. 2010
By 
Alison Roberts (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Emotional Geology (Paperback)
I reviewed this book for my blog:
How to write a review of this book without giving away the whole plot? I want to tease you with enough of it to make you go out and read it for yourselves, but without giving too much away.

I was too ill to go to work yesterday so between sleeping I read almost the entire book. Which should say something in itself.

Sometimes I felt like I was almost reading the authors diary. In a way I hope I wasn't as I wouldn't want to think that she had a `Gavin' in her life. Safe to say I didn't like this guy too much.

Callum, well I felt a little heartbreak when he was explaining what had happened to Chris. Now this is a fictional character but with such realistic dimensions I felt a little heart break!!

The scenery again is amazing and makes me long for the short bursts of time I spend in Scotland. If it wasn't so cold and rainy I'd be there in a shot.

There were times when I almost felt like I was reading a manual on how to write. Not in a patronising way but I learnt a little as I ploughed through the pages.

I am studying a writing course but seem to not be following the instructions being given to me. When I am writing I don't find I need to know the ending of the story, just the start. Then I almost let the story tell itself with me being the medium to allow the story to be told. In the book, I almost read the same thing.

I suppose this book is a woman's book, I am not sure how much men would get out of it, or admit to getting out of it. Maybe it would be like the woman's magazines, men call them piffle then sneak a peak when you are not looking.

The characters dance out at you from the pages of the book and you feel for them, all sorts of emotions, some good and some bad, and that's life. It's another book that grips into you and when you finish the book, when you get to those longed for last pages, the hunger to know the full story makes you not want to put the book down. Then you get there, you know it's the end but you turn the page all the same hoping there will be more.

When I close a book and am silent for a while I know it's been good.

I hope I have given you enough to want to go out and read it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, 24 Feb. 2008
By 
Bee of Good Cheer (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Emotional Geology (Paperback)
I had heard this book raved about on Bookcrossing, so I was a little doubtful at first - after all, there are factions on BC who like The Da Vinci Code or Wuthering Heights ...

I approached this book with a little trepidation at first, as I'm very attached to the west coast of Scotland, and with island ancestry too, I didn't want my perceptions trampled on. Add into it a heroine who has a mental illness, as I have, and it could have been a total mess - a real "throw the book at the wall" encounter!

I should not have worried - this book is a sensitive portrait of not only people, but places. Internal and external landscapes are delineated beautifully, and with real understanding. The writing is spare, but lyrical, and the characters of Calum and Rose lived with me long after the last page had been turned.

The sections dealing with the creative process was illuminating and expressive - it didn't fall into the cliche of saying madness is a component of great art, but it explained why sometimes it seems that way. The parts dealing with Calum's past were haunting. I wonder if the author has read Joe Simpson's This Game of Ghosts, because it seemed to express a lot of how Joe feels about climbing and the dangers involved.
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