I am delighted to be opening up the blog tour today for The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald. Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour.
About this book…
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket follows the story of two women who are each struggling to let go of a long-term destructive partnership. Felicity is reluctant to detach from her estranged archaeologist husband and, after being banished from the family home, she sets out to test the stability of his relationship with his new love, Marianne.
When Felicity meets Coll, a charismatic artist, she has high hopes of being distracted from her failed marriage. What she doesn’t know is that he has a partner, Sarah, with whom he has planned a future. Sarah is deeply in love with Coll, but his controlling behaviour and associations with other women have always made her life difficult. When he becomes obsessed with Felicity, Sarah’s world collapses and a series of events is set in motion that will challenge the integrity of all the characters involved.
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a thought-provoking book, written from the perspectives of Sarah and Felicity. The reader is in the privileged position of knowing what’s going on for both of the women, while each of them is being kept in the dark about a very important issue.
Inspired by the work of Margaret Atwood and Fay Weldon, Linda explores the issue of mental abuse in partnerships and the grey area of an infidelity that is emotional, not physical. The book will appeal to readers interested in the psychology of relationships, as well as fans of Linda’s ‘Lydia’ series.
To say that I was completely surprised by The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is a bit of an understatement! Reading this book was like sitting and having a gossipy catch up coffee with a friend as all the characters were so realistically described that it felt as though I was reading about real people that I actually knew! I was drawn in totally from the very first page on the strength of the authors writing and then kept firmly in place as I continued to become so involved in the characters lives that their world felt as though it was really going on, just in a different part of the country!
I’ve said recently that I’m loving the trend towards more “grown up” women’s fiction featuring more mature women and this book is a prime example of that. It’s probably because I’m now a woman in my fifties myself but it felt so refreshing to read about women of my own age still being romantically involved but also who still want to be desired especially as they have mostly become very comfortable within their own skins . Sex is still a big part of these womens lives which isn’t something explored in many books that I have read recently. Yes these women want to be loved but they are still exploring their sensuality and still having those same desires they had when younger but they are now able to relax more due to a self confidence in both mind and body that often only comes with age. A woman’s fifties are often quite a turning point for them. Women with children may be suffering from “empty nest syndrome” and struggling to become their own person again, not being seen just as a mother. The menopause can also hit some women hard, leading to marital problems, if not fully understood by their partner, at a time when couples should have a lot more sexual and financial freedom.
Saying that though, the two women characters here were very different in their relationship expectations and in the way they dealt with them. Sarah was probably my favourite of the two of them but I got so frustrated by the way she let herself be treated by boyfriend Coll. He seemed to have absolutely no respect for her feelings at all and I couldn’t understand why she was still with him when he treated her so badly! And when Felicity, who seemed much more confident than Sarah started to fall for his charms as well, I despaired of where the plot was heading. I didn’t take to Felicity at first, I think I saw her the same way that Sarah did as a sexually confident woman who takes what she wants, even if that person is someone else’s partner. But the more she opened up to Coll, the more I came to understand her and many of those reasons I had for disliking her slipped away especially as Coll also seemed to have been as honest with her as he was with Sarah. Therefore, unfortunately for him, my feelings for Coll did NOT change one little bit!
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket was such an unexpected journey for me, a journey that I didn’t want to come to an end! It was a refreshingly honest and intelligent exploration of relationships in a woman’s more mature years that connected to my own emotions in a way that I hadn’t thought possible. In fact I can’t believe that this is the first book of this author’s that I have read, only realising once I had finished that a few of the characters had been mentioned in previous novels set within the same village. So I am definitely going to enjoy catching up with them sometime soon as well!
Highly recommended by me!
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is available to purchase now from Amazon UK (affiliates link). My review copy came from the publisher.