When archaeologist Edward Harvey’s wife Felicity inherits almost a million, she gives up her job, buys a restaurant and, as a devotee of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, starts turning their home into a small eco-farm. Edward is not happy, not least because she seems to be losing interest in him.
Taryn is a borderline manic-depressive, a scheming minx, a seductress and user of men. Edward and Taryn don’t know each other but they both know Marianne. To Edward, Marianne is a former classmate who sends him crazy emails. She is Taryn’s best friend, and when Marianne meets Edward, she tells Taryn how wonderful he is and that he is not the philandering type. Taryn sees a challenge and concocts a devious plan to meet him during a series of lectures he is giving at the British Museum. When Edward and Taryn’s paths cross, questions of friendship, loyalty and betrayal are played out against a backdrop of mental fragility and the destabilising effects of a large inheritance...
Set in Broadclyst and Beckenham, with a chapter on the Isles of Scilly, A Meeting of a Different Kind is the stand-alone sequel to Meeting Lydia, continuing the story from the perspectives of two very different characters. Like its prequel, it will appeal to fans of adult fiction, especially those interested in the psychology of relationships.
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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.
Brook Cottage Books, 28 March
Your Town Wimbledon
I would give this novel FIVE STARS.
For me, 'A Meeting of a Different Kind' is a novel that weaves love's many guises into an impenetrable tapestry which results in being a judicious cross-examination of 'love', 'sex' and 'happiness' from male and female perspectives written without bias.
We are introduced to Taryn and Edward who, after she watches him give a lecture at The British Museum, sets out to seduce him. Edward is married to Felicity, they have 4 children, fast growing up. Felicity, having come into a substantial inheritance, wants to pursue her dreams of opening her own restaurant - something she put on 'the back burner' for years, sacrificing her own happiness in order to support Edward's career and raise their children. Edward is not a fan of change and cannot understand Felicity's need for finding her Self and claiming what is rightfully hers - a cherished career-dream she wants to see blossom before her autumn years roll in. Edward actually does love his wife... and then he meets Taryn.
Taryn has just left Marc, a younger lover who lacks respect for Taryn in every way except horizontally. Taryn hears all about Edward from her long-time friend, Marianne, who has been an eMail-penpal of Edward's, having rediscovered him via Friends Reunited when she was searching for old school friends, and Taryn finds herself tremendously attracted to the challenge of seducing Edward after Marianne sings his praises to her. Edward is a man who would never usually turn his head for any woman, other than his wife.
As the book progresses, we are simultaneously exposed to parallel goings on in the lives of Felicity, Marianne and of course Taryn, examining their own relationships tied to Edward, which lead us to a sumptuous plot development and on to an unexpected outcome.
It is not a novel to be rushed - take your time to let the heady concoction of the characters' surreptitious sexual hunger, wrestle with their moral scruples and ignite the natural flame that flickers within us all.
This novel is in no way what is known as 'chick lit'. Accessible to men and women alike, the theme is very adult: no preaching and no apologies for expressing raw emotion between the sexes so openly to us, if not each other.
Overall, Linda MacDonald examines the dark recesses that lie behind our pursuit of true happiness and real love; she leaves us thinking about her words for a very long time.
Although 'A Meeting of a Different Kind' is a sequel to 'Meeting Lydia' it is a stand-alone novel in its own right. However, I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Meeting Lydia' as well, so I highly recommend the books being read in succession.
by Rowena Pavlou
5.0 out of 5 stars A Meeting of a Different Kind 18 Nov 2012
By Jenny Beattie
I was eager to read this novel after recently reading the prequel 'Meeting Lydia' and was in no way disappointed. If anything, I enjoyed this novel much more than the last.
It was wonderful to hear the voices/stories of two characters who had been mentioned in the first novel but whom you never really heard their perspective; this was a lovely literary twist on perspectives/narrative viewpoints which worked beautifully and connected the two novels seamlessly, even though they are both perfectly readable in their own right.
In A Meeting of a Different Kind, the male and female narrative voices of Edward and Taryn complemented each other well and sustained interest throughout this emotional rollercoaster of a novel - and what a ride it was! I haven't felt as involved with characters as much I did with these two protagonists - and other characters in the novel - in quite a long time and I felt all of their emotional responses keenly - hope, despair, love, isolation, betrayal, disapproval, disappointment, surprise, etc: I could go on. A large number of these emotions resonated with me personally - even though the situations surrounding them in the novel was far removed from my own situation - but I also felt them deeply on behalf of the characters, especially Marianne. And having 'known' her from the first novel, it was a really interesting experience to witness events happening to her and feel like I knew how she would be feeling, even though we heard very little from her perspective,
This is a fluid, fluent novel which is very easy to read and yet complex at the same time. Like 'Meeting Lydia' there is a huge range of themes covered which the author weaves together beautifully. This is a real page turner and can claim the unique title of leaving me hugely satisfied with the ending (a large part of me feels that things ended just as they should) while, at the same time, I found myself hoping for so much more and for some of the characters to tread a very different path.
Who knows...perhaps, if this becomes a trilogy, they may well do! A highly recommended read - thoroughly enjoyable, accessible, relevant and moving.
by Jenny Beattie
'A Meeting Of A Different Kind' - the second novel from Linda MacDonald, following on, but standing alone from Meeting Lydia.
As in the first novel the author's understanding of psychological concepts informs her characters' reactions and habits, and explores the knotty chestnut of nature versus nurture when it comes to men, women, mid-life and matters of the heart. The characters explore and illustrate these concepts in their actions and correspondence but never losing sight of the need to remain convincing as fictional creations.
The narrative is largely omniscient, taking the perspective of Edward and Taryn respectively but keeping a coherent voice which adds to the pace of the book which hurtles along. It's a real page turner from beginning to end.
I thought the characters in A Meeting Of A Different Kind were more convincing than in Meeting Lydia, there was greater depth, the dialogue more natural and the world in which they inhabited felt more real. Edward is fundamentally decent but bewildered, the loose cannon that is Taryn carries her own psychological demons and a possible mental illness the roots of which are explored.
This is a contemporary English realist novel with potentially wide appeal. A thoughtful, funny and at times moving book.
by Martyn Clayton
A Meeting of a Different Kind opens on a morning scene in the kitchen of Edward’s family home. We’re introduced to the change in Felicity since gaining her inheritance and how Edward feels about the change.
Next, we witness a scene with Taryn. She’s throwing out live-in boyfriend Marc. Taryn, used to her independence, has used an excuse to get on and off lover Marc out of her life.
We find out the background of Edward and Felicity’s relationship before we find out about Taryn’s childhood and the reasons for her not being able to engage emotionally in any intimate relationships.
Taryn and Marianne meet up and from this moment, the thread of Marianne and Edward’s friendship from the first book is woven in to Edward and Taryn’s story.
Written in the third person with alternating chapters for each character the reader identifies with Edward, Taryn and Marianne and becomes caught up in this love triangle. Three very different characters and with the third person narrative, I was able to empathise and understand each one’s motives. Even though Marianne loses her trust and I felt her pain, I still understood why Taryn and Edward chose their actions. I felt the author portrayed Edward’s confusion particularly well as his life underwent the changes from Felicity making all the sacrifices to then putting her own needs and dreams first. Writing from a male perspective I imagine is quite challenging but Edward felt real and three-dimensional. MacDonald gets right to the heart of her characters.
Taryn and Edward come to realisations and therefore healing takes place. My blog readers should know by now how much I enjoy seeing crisis and understanding leading to growth in a character … we have two characters that follow this path in A Meeting of a Different Kind!
Broadclyst and The Isles of Scilly come alive in this story … MacDonald either knows them really well or has researched extensively. Felicity and her eco-farming is also very real.
It was great to read about Marianne again and to see where her friendship with Edward led. She is a much stronger character here having undergone her watershed in Meeting Lydia. The ending is such that I hope we get to read more about the underlying tensions between them!
A Meeting of a Different Kind is about accepting the changes in life and adjusting to different age-related cycles; exploring childhood experiences and perceptions, so that we don’t project the pain out into the world. It is about how we live with the mistakes we make and how we move on from them. MacDonald’s writing style draws you in with a steady rhythm and alongside the psychology underlying the character’s choices, makes this an engaging read.
I have no hesitation in recommending A Meeting of a Different Kind. This one is staying on my bookshelf:
by Sharon Goodwin
After reading and enjoying 'Meeting Lydia', the first in the trilogy, I couldn't wait to read this book - A Meeting of a Different Kind - and I'm so glad I did. I loved it.
Oh Taryn, what have you done?!?!? How could you do that to your best friend? Poor Marianne. But of course behind it there is always a reason. I was eager to find out what it was all about, what would happen next and if there was forgiveness. Did I want forgiveness? I wasn't sure. Oh what a rollercoaster of events. I loved the twists and turns and the book was very well written.
Highly recommendable. I can't wait to read the final book of the trilogy.