Published: 01/09/2011
ISBN: 9781848767126
eISBN: 9781848768574
Format: Paperback/eBook

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Meeting Lydia
by Linda MacDonald

“Edward Harvey. Even thinking his name made her tingle with half-remembered childlike giddiness. Edward Harvey, the only one from Brocklebank to whom she might write if she found him.”

Marianne Hayward, teacher of psychology and compulsive analyser of the human condition, is hormonally unhinged. The first seven years of her education were spent at a boys’ prep school, Brocklebank Hall, where she was relentlessly bullied. From the start, she was weak and frightened and easy prey for Barnaby Sproat and his gang. Only one boy was never horrible to her: the clever and enigmatic Edward Harvey, on whom she developed her first crush.

Now 46, when Marianne finds her charming husband in the kitchen talking to the glamorous Charmaine, her childhood insecurities resurface and their once-happy marriage begins to slide. Teenage daughter Holly persuades her to join Friends Reunited, which results in both fearful and nostalgic memories of prep school as Marianne wonders what has become of the bullies and of Edward Harvey. Frantic to repair her marriage, yet rendered snappy and temperamental by her plummeting hormones, her attempts towards reconciliation fail. The answer to all her problems could lie in finding Edward again... But what would happen if she found what she seeks?

Meeting Lydia is a book about childhood bullying, midlife crises, obsession, jealousy and the ever-growing trend of internet relationships. It will appeal to fans of adult fiction and those interested in the dynamics and psychology of relationships. Author Linda is inspired by Margaret Atwood, Fay Weldon and David Lodge.

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May 2017 and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is released. Early reviews are looking very positive and encouraging.

December 2016 and Meeting Lydia is now released as an audiobook and is available via Amazon, Audible and iTunes. And book 4, The Man in the Needlecord Jacket has begun the publication process here with Troubador.

November 2016 and an abridged audiobook of Meeting Lydia is on the verge of release. It is narrated by talented voice actress Harriet Carmichael and produced by Essential Music, London. It will be available via Audible and iTunes. Watch this space!

June 2014 and Linda began the marketing whirl of The Alone Alternative with an interview on Croydon Radio. It is the last 45 mins of this podcast:

During 2013 Linda was giving talks about the fateful events that led to her writing and publishing Meeting Lydia. Mostly in Bromley and Croydon, but she also took the opportunity to speak at Clyst Vale Library in the village of Broadclyst, Devon, where The Alone Alternative is partly set and where she was busy conducting research.

Very pleased to announce that A Meeting of a Different Kind was one of five shortlisted titles for IPR License December Agent's Pick competition.

br3 magazine,, November 2011

Cockermouth Museum Group,, January 2012

Amy's Blog,, January 2012, December 2011

Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma,, November 2011

Suzanne Conboy-Hill – finding fiction,, October 2011

Jera's Jamboree,

The Bookseller Buyer's Guide, Autumn 2011

News & Star,, August 2011

Cockermouth Post, August 2011

I wanted to add my 5 stars to the rest of the 5 star reviews on here about 'Meeting Lydia', which is an amazing book that I highly recommend. It had me laughing, gasping, silently crying - and all by page 45! I didn't want the story to finish and had to physically slow down my reading to make the experience last longer.

'Meeting Lydia' is an intelligent, impressive unisex novel written from the female AND male perspective about life, love, hopes, dreams, feelings and sex but definitely not to be compared with 'chick-lit' books. This book is classy and written with humour, tenderness and compassion; it is a beautifully crafted piece of work.

I have recommended it not only to everyone on my Facebook friends list (some of whom have bought it and are reading it with joy at the time of my writing this) but also to the world of Twitter... and my husband, who is about to start reading it.

I'm very much looking forward to reading the sequel; in the meantime I hope 'Meeting Lydia' continues to get more high praise and the recognition it truly deserves for being literature worth reading.

by Rowena

I purchased 'Meeting Lydia' for a host of reasons and am very glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; it was highly engaging and hard to put down.
But why, I hear you ask? Well, the unusual choice of protagonist made for very interesting reading - I haven't come across many 40+ heroines in modern literature and it was an interesting perspective. Indeed, somehow Linda MacDonald managed to present perspectives from a number of male & female characters - this was most evident in a very moving section at the end of the novel. There were a vast number of narrative strands running through this that were woven together beautifully. The myriad of themes dealt with both modern issues and those which are universal & timeless - all of which felt applicable to me at some level. There were some really interesting stylistic choices - for example, the merging of genres between novel & drama, epistolary form (& its modern equivalent, shifts in narrative time; the opening of some flashback scenes with 'stage directions' - I could go on!
Indeed, I am still marvelling how such a technically complex & accomplished novel could be so easy to read! With two small children I have failed to read much in the past few months, but finished this in a fortnight.
I'm not sure what label I could put on this; although it has a predominately female voice/presence, I do think this novel would be appropriate for male/female readers as the breadth and depth of issue covered would have something for everyone! And I really do feel like I've read a 'serious' book of merit, both in terms of content & form (but it didn't make my brain hurt in the way that 'serious' books often have a tendency to do!)
I do hope you enjoy it. The fact that I'm eager to read the stand-alone sequel must count for something!

by Jenny Beattie

I have absolutely no reserve in giving this superbly written book a 5 (five) star (*****) rating. Usually I reserve my rating until the end of a review but this is such an outstandingly written tale I had to tell you up front.

Essentially this tale deals with two main themes:

1. The long term impact of bullying.
2. Mid-life crisis.

We are clearly shown how bullying at school or at a young age usually has implications for the rest of the victim’s life. Leaving them with a sense of inadequacy or inferiority and causing them to be unsure about how to interact in society.

The author has also drawn out how mid-life crises for both women and men results in a lot of confusion, misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

In several sections there is a multiplicity of events, thoughts and action, which could have been confusing for the reader. However, this book is so superbly written that these sections flow and interweave easily. With some other writers these could have ended up as lists or a disjointed conglomeration of facts and details, not so here.

As a reader we are not participants in the action of a book, even though we may allow our imaginations to imply we are, nevertheless, in this book, without the use of imagination, there were frequent occasions when I felt drawn in and almost present within the action and the conversations; a rare experience in modern books.

Although we are told this is a work of fiction it does have an autobiographical feel due to the sensitive and clear descriptions and the equally clear interpretation, and conveying, of feelings and thoughts.

An added interest is also the use of one of the earliest social media sites to frame an important part of the tale ‘Friends Reunited’. Although I suppose it was inevitable, I doubt many envisioned the rapid evolution of social media into the sea of sites available today.

In the course of the tale several interesting questions are raised. Some are naturally the result of reaching a certain age but many are not. There were several I had thought about for some time. There are also some interesting and informative statistics shared as part of the story. Of course we are not given all the answers we would like but it is good to know others have similar thoughts. This is in many ways a natural story and even with the realistic difficulties and surprises encountered provides a smooth read.

This is not the type of book I usually read. I first came across Linda MacDonald on Twitter and having read her tweets decided to look at her book. Although it has not drawn me to this genre I am surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it, which is substantially due to how well it is written.

Cover: When reading or reviewing a book I do not normally concern myself unduly with the cover image. I am more interested in the synopsis either on the back or on the fly sheet. However, I have recently noted there is considerable discussion about the impact a cover design may have on people’s choice of reading.

The cover for ‘Meeting Lydia’ gives no indication regarding the content unless you are super charged and contemplate the open flower as an indication of the menopause; not a thought which readily springs to my mind. Nevertheless, I found the image refreshing and consider it does catch the eye sufficiently to perhaps prompt potential readers to read the synopsis.

I do recommend this book to all readers whether you are interested in the genre or not. As I have said it is superbly written and makes a good read. I would especially recommend it to anyone who has the least degree of interest in human nature.

The book is available in paperback and as an e-book both available from Troubador Publishing Ltd and Amazon:

by Peter Roberts

I really enjoyed this book and, without giving too much away, I was propelled through it with the anticipation of finding out what was actually going to happen at the end! The book was very thought-provoking and really interesting on many levels. It's the first novel I've read in a few years and it's got me back into reading again. I've just read the sequel, 'A meeting of a different kind' and enjoyed that just as much, if not more. I can't wait for the third one in the trilogy!

by Deborah

I discovered this author through Twitter, showing how powerful social media can be in promoting new writers.

'Meeting Lydia' and its sequel 'A Meeting of a Different Kind' unwrap the complication of relationships of all kinds in later life, in a humorous, thought-provoking and insightful way. The thrust of the plot rests on the central character, Marianne, and how her early life has affected her confidence. Travelling through time, we meet her approaching the milestone age of 50 and wondering about her childhood friends and acquaintances. Social media provides a vehicle for gaining access to her past. Thus she confronts her issues in a variety of scenarios, involving friends old and new and the resultant repercussions.

Both books are well-written, with three-dimensional, convincing characters who react in sometimes surprising but believable ways. The interplay between them is well-woven and provides for some difficult and confrontational storylines, some of which remain unresolved.

I am looking forward to the publication of the final volume in this trilogy.

by Margot Rohan

Given 5* on Amazon:
I was curious to investigate this book after the author made contact via Twitter. From the tweets and the blurb about the book I wasn't convinced it was for me as it's something totally different to what I usually read (romantic, period stuff!)
How wrong I was! This is a book which draws the reader in from the start and leaves you not wanting to put it down. Will Marianne ever finally meet Lydia, and, if so, what will be the outcome? But as you read on, it becomes clear that this is more than just a 'will they, won't they' novel - it is about relationships and how one person's actions impact on everything and everyone in their life. Moreover, for women of a 'certain age' it leaves the reader asking questions of themselves and I found plenty in it which resonated with my own experiences, good and bad. A must read for anyone interested in psychology and relationships, or just a jolly good read! Have already ordered the sequel!

by N.Patrick


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