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: http://croydonradio.com/upload/podcast/2014-06-21-15-59-30.
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.
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I really enjoyed reading this story. I love the concept of the storyline and the way it's told. It's written well and it's easy to read and follow because the chapters are short. The story is about Marianne and her internet search for Edward, the first boy she had a crush on at school. She starts feeling insecure in her marriage and so she starts an online relationship. It shows the ups and downs of social media and online relationships. It'was a very interesting read for me and one that I could relate to.
by Therese Ferguson
Drew me right in! Lydia feels her husband is interested in a young woman in his office so, feeling insecure, she does the modern thing and goes on Facebook to search for Edward - her first boyfriend. A well written interesting commentary on our world today.
by Rhonda Lomazow
I'm not normally one for fiction, but I simply had to write a review after reading this. I don't want to give the story away, but it's a story about bullying, love, secrets, jealousy, despair, what-ifs, family, friends, hope, past, present and future. Reading Marianne's very private thoughts on her life, and where it's going, will leave you wanting more and you won't be disappointed. Thought-provoking story which doesn't become predictable, even to the very last page.
Well written, short chapters make it easy to read. I can't wait to read the sequel, "A Meeting of a Different Kind." I have started the first few pages and I can't put it down.
by Amazon Customer
Blokes may well be put off reading this first book by Linda, because of its 'girlie' cover, but there is plenty of observation of idiosyncrocies and the mechanisms of male/female relationships in there to make reading past the front cover worthwhile. In fact, it is an intelligently written account of the psychology of relationships and an interesting reflection on how email, text messages and other contemporary social networking media have altered the way we relate to each other, in particular to the opposite sex. As it is a debut novel, it would be churlish to criticise possible flaws in the narrative structure, or - given the central importance of her prep school memories to the main character's motivation for her journey of discovery - the timidity of the description of the childhood bullying. The story is certainly intriguing enough to make you want to read to the end and Marianne's exploration of her 'self' and those around her is multi-faceted and relevant enough to hold any reader's interest, even a bloke's. On the whole a very enjoyable and rewarding read!
by Amazon Customer
I purchased 'Meeting Lydia' after meeting the lovely author Linda MacDonald on Twitter. I was a bit afraid to start reading in case I didnt like the book and didnt want to have to tell her!
I shouldn't have worried as I absolutely loved it.Once I started reading I couldnt stop. It was easy to read and soon I was addicted and couldnt wait to see what happened at the end. Cant say too much as I don't want to spoil the plot and the surprises.
The prologue was intriguing and left the reader wanting to know much more about Lydia and Lucy.
As a(young)middle aged lady myself I really appreciated Mariannes story and her turmoil!
I would really recommend this book and promise you wont be disappointed!
I have already purchased the stand alone sequel, A Meeting of a Different kind, and cant wait to find out what happens next.
by Amazon Customer
To read `Meeting Lydia` is to sit in a comfy front room with the author, and listen while she tells you the story. Linda MacDonald is a raconteur, an `under-the-banyan-tree', book-at-bedtime story teller, who conjures up complex images through a stream-of-consciousness narrative. Some might say there is more telling than showing, but they would be mistaken in judging this to be a fault. The telling is not exposition, not info-dumping, not tedious scene-setting. The telling is Bridget Jones; it is the internal curiosities, private debates, and mental machinations of the main character, Marianne, as she negotiates a mid-life crisis, the menopause, and a re-emergence of past horrors. If you are intrigued by relationships, by the seismic shifts brought on by the passage of time, or by the impact of early experience on the adult psyche, you will find more than enough here to meet your requirements. And while fiction it may be, the fact is grounded and you can trust the psychology, the insights, and the research. Linda knows her stuff, and it shows.
`Meeting Lydia` is about Marianne's internet pursuit, via Friends Reunited, of a past relationship. It is the single thread upon which she hangs a thousand-and-one intricate scenes of self discovery; any one of which might be seen as an irrelevant distraction from the plot, but each of which is like one of those tiny shops or galleries you come across unexpectedly while looking for Debenhams. If all you want is a mainstream chain store, this book is not for you. But if what you love best is poking around in unique and idiosyncratically organised one-roomers where the owner can tell you who made everything and the names of their grandchildren, you are very much in luck.
I was afraid of reviewing this book. My best friend is the author, we exchange Kula gifts (look up `Trobriand Islanders` and fix on yams and necklaces), and I'm pretty certain I'm in there somewhere, although definitely not as Edward. It has turned out to be easy to review because it is structurally competent, refreshingly unburdened by convention, and has no wasted words. It reads like a film, and maybe it should be one. So open up your copy of `Meeting Lydia`, start up the projector in your head, and let Linda tell you a story.
by Amazon Customer
This wasn't my normal type of reading, but knowing a relative of the author, I decided to give it a try. Once upon a time I believe this would have been categorised as "a woman's book", and I suspect the subject matter appeals much more to the female reader. More's the pity, as I, a mere male, found the story gripping. I imagine a lot of middle-aged husbands would be wiser for getting this and learning about a woman's unspoken angst as the menopause approaches. The M word is never far from the thoughts of Marianne, the central character. She has to cope with it, and the fear of it, while dealing with all the surface problems of family life. Trying to confront her demons with the help of renewed contact with an old friend made page after page turn rapidly. The suspense grows; will Marianne meet Lydia? I won't give the game away, other than to say I will definitely get the author's next book.
by Amazon Customer
I discovered this author on Twitter, showing how powerful social media can be in promoting new writers.
'Meeting Lydia' and its sequel 'A Meeting of a Different Kind' unwrapped 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 waiting expectantly for the publication of the final volume in this trilogy.
by Amazon Customer
Meeting Lydia is a novel which explores how relationships change and shift as we get older. As the decades pass we find ourselves reassessing our history, and often want to revisit people and places we once knew to find some sort of sense of who were are and what might have been. Marianne is in the midst of middle age, still unpicking the threads woven by school bullying, and wondering how life might have been different.
Set at the time Friends Reunited was reviving long lost romances, friendships and enmities in a way that was previously more difficult, Marianne conducts an email discussion with an old flame. Social networks are changing the way we do relationships, relate to one another and assess and reassess ourselves, our identities and our history.
Linda MacDonald knows her psychology and this is apparent in the text which pulls off that difficult balancing act of being both a work of popular fiction but intellectually stimulating.
The author has created believable characters with depth and dimension. Skillfully written and a real page turner.
by Amazon Customer
Seldom are debut novels as readable as this first offering from Linda MacDonald. This book tackles the topical subject of old friends from the past catching up via the internet but more than that it is thoughtful as it develops the characters and thought provoking as we see some of ourselves in these pages. The sequel is eagerly looked forward to by this reader.
by Amazon Customer
I purchased this book based on a recommendation from a friend, and i'm so glad i did!
My first impression of this book was it looks really good quality, fairly large print and nice thick paper - each time i turned a page i had to double check i'd only turned the one as it felt like two!
The story is easy to get straight into and kept my attention throughout. The kind of book you wished hadn't ended!
by Amazon Customer
This was another fascinating book from Linda, examining the psychology of relationships and how our past can continue to affect us. Bullying is a very emotional subject and one that, unfortunately, everyone experiences at some point in their lives. As someone who was bullied at school, this was subject I knew a little about and it was heartbreaking to see how much it still affect Marianne’s life. The bullying scenes were quite uncomfortable to read about as they seemed very real, the author doesn’t sugar coat the situation so the reader is exposed to all the hurt and confusion that Marianne feels.
I loved Marianne! She was one of those characters that you can really get behind as she is so relatable. I wanted her to have the happy ending she deserved, though sometimes felt like shaking her as she made some interesting decisions. The reader gets to know Marianne on a personal level which made me a lot more affected by what happens.
The author adopts a intimate, fly in the wall style of writing that makes the reader feel like they are standing next to the characters watching everything unfold. This made me feel more involved in the story and I felt I cared more about what happens as if it would affect my life too. The chapters alternate between the present day and Marianne’s time at school which helps give the reader a more holistic view of her life and greater understanding of what happened.
The drama/ tension in the book is created by normal, everyday things that helps make the book very original and incredibly gripping. This could actually happen, to you or someone you know which makes it even more thrilling as you wonder what you would have done.
Linda is the author of four books and this is the second book I have read by her. I really look forward to reading more from this talented author.
by Joanna Park
Meeting Lydia is the first in a set of four books that feature some of the same characters but are standalone reads. I have read book four, The Man in the Needlecord Jacket, which I thought was a fantastic read so I was keen to read another by this author.
I'd been wondering who Lydia was as she didn't seem to be mentioned in the blurb. It all becomes clear in the story which is about Marianne primarily. She's menopausal and when her husband, Johnny, brings home his attractive younger colleague, she's incensed by it. It brings back her school years when she was bullied as one of only a handful of girls in a boarding school for boys. It drives her to Friends Reunited (the book is set in 2002 and at the time that site was the cutting edge of social media) to look up an old school mate, Edward, and they begin an email correspondence in which Marianne pours out all her feelings.
This book looks at how events of the past are always there, waiting to rear their, sometimes ugly, head. Marianne is deeply damaged by the bullying but had pushed it into a recess of her mind. Edward is someone who might understand, might remember, a kindred spirit, as he was there at the time.
There's quite a lot of philosophical thoughts in this book, particularly in Marianne's emails to Edward. Not surprising, given that she is a psychology lecturer (and the author was too). Philosophical thoughts aren't quite my bag but they represented Marianne's look deep within her psyche, examining her inner feelings and fears.
It was nice to read something about Friends Reunited as that site had a massive impact on people. For the first time, it was possible to look people up on the internet and connect with them again. I also enjoyed the themes involved in this story, being ones of jealousy, insecurity, the change of life. Linda Macdonald is most definitely an accomplished writer of stories about feelings. She's able to look deep into the heart of her characters.
I really enjoyed Meeting Lydia and am looking forward to catching up with the characters from different perspectives in the two books that I have not yet read. This is intelligent fiction about a woman at a crossroads in her life, trying to work out whether to stick on the road she has travelled so far or to take a different path.
by Nicola Smith
In my review of The Man in the Needlecord Jacket I said that for a book to really impress me it needs to engage my emotions, win my heart, and move me – and it’s even better when it engages my brain a little too. This book did all that, and more – with its focus on Marianne, approaching her fifties, feeling the changes to her mind and body and their impact on her marriage.
One of the author’s exceptional strengths is in allowing you to inhabit the mind and thoughts of her characters – and Marianne’s mind isn’t always an entirely comfortable place to be, however recognisable from your personal experience. As well as the insecurities at her stage of life, Marianne carries a lot of baggage from her dreadful experience of bullying, as one of a small number of girls at a boys’ preparatory school – a legacy she’s never shared with husband Johnny, nor come to terms with. The novel is set in 2002, in the early days of electronic relationships – the relevance of “Lydia” (very cleverly) becomes clear as Marianne re-establishes contact with Edward, a fellow student she admired from afar, through Friends Reunited.
I very much liked the book’s structure – her initial search for contact, the email exchanges agonised over for tone and content, together with the deeper, more reflective drafts never sent but revealing far more about Marianne’s thoughts and feelings. I also loved the portrait of her marriage – the realistic exchanges and reactions, the words that couldn’t be unsaid, the jealousy souring each attempt at reconciliation. It would be wrong of me to tell too much of the story, but there were moments in this book when I was angry with her, wanted to hug her, and one significant point when I wished I was standing behind her to cheer her on.
The writing, as ever, is superb – a lot of introspection and self analysis, but very well handled, and an emotional touch that’s quite perfectly judged. There’s darkness and light, humour and tears, characters you grow to love, and a strong narrative drive that carries you through with a yearning to discover how things play out. I really enjoyed this book – and I’m particularly delighted that I still have two more books to look forward to reading, to explore the characters further.
by Anne Williams