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Star Gazing Paperback – 29 May 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Piatkus (29 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0749938978
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749938970
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 455,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

This was a joy to read from the first page to the last...Romantic and quirky and beautifully written (Lovereading * 'Shamelessly romantic tale set in Scotland with a blind woman.Her ability to 'see')

through music is beautifully handled. A fascinating love story (The Bookseller * 'A story of love, music, and nature...very engaging...an enjoyable novel by a reliably good writer')

Adele Geras

Review

"A read for diehard romantics with a bent towards environmental issues."

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
I loved this book right from the start. The characters are so well drawn and the story so moving. Marianne is very independent, and a little prickly. She doesn't like to use her cane when she's out because she doesn't want it to be obvious she's blind. Some of the things she said made me smile, but you could also really feel her pain, both at the loss of her husband, and the other losses that she suffers.

Linda Gillard's writing seems to have so much feeling to it and I really cared what happened to Marianne and Keir. There's also Louisa and her relationship with the much younger Garth the Goth.

Because the main character is blind, there's a lot of description of Edinburgh and Skye, two wonderful settings. And the things Keir does to be able to describe surroundings to Marianne are very touching.

A lovely book, and one which I highly recommend. A 5/5 for me.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition
So much more than a romantic love story, though it is that as well. Linda Gillard does a fabulous job of conveying the life and experience of a woman blind since birth, not just how she manages in a sighted world, but how she perceives that world. This is done through rich, sensual language, the language of scents, textures, and sounds, particularly music. Despite the fact that the main protagonist has no idea what her surroundings look like, the sense of place is powerfully evoked, the Isle of Skye, the streets of Edinburgh, out on the ocean... The balance of themes is superb - we have adventure, and tragedy, and masses of action, plenty of danger, excitement, and fun too. The hero has to be described to us by a blind person, yet we have a vivid picture of him, and of course described as he is by touch, Gillard is able to convey his sexual attractiveness and his body language. The other characters are striking and individual, for this is also a tale of two sisters, in fact stereotypes are turned on their heads throughout which is something that always attracts me as a reader. This book, ironically, could be a beautifully visual film, with moments of edge-of-the-seat suspense, or a radio play with us looking through the protagonist's 'eyes'. To have a blind heroine is a tour de force, handled with the skilled aplomb of Linda Gillard - avoiding any sentimentality and keeping us rooting for a sometimes difficult, uncompromising woman whose blindness is part of her and not a hook for easy pity.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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.
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