Troubador The Man in the Needlecord Jacket

Released: 28/05/2017

ISBN: 9781788037112

eISBN: 9781785898273

Format: Paperback/eBook

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The Man in the Needlecord Jacket


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.

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.

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The Man In The Needlecord Jacket is a dark look into the psyche of two different women.

Felicity's failed marriage and her attempt to be happy contributes to Sarah's world falling apart. Both women are floundering and don't really grasp the depths they are being controlled by the man in their life.

This book is very thought provoking and hits close to home for many.

by Sabrina Norris

My background in the field of Psychology seems to always pull me towards books that stir up that part of my life. Linda MacDonald has no short of themes from the mental health spectrum woven throughout her novel to challenge your perspectives on human behavior which include: emotional abuse, narcissistic personality, destructive relationships and infidelity via an emotional affair rather than the typical physical aspect. She did a fantastic job of pulling into the light those aspects of human behavior most want kept in the darkness so you are forced to confront your own attitudes on the subjects or even wonder if you aren't mimicking some of her characters behaviors in your own life???

I liked that you are treated to an intense look into the lives and psychological viewpoints from two very different women throughout this storyline. MacDonald really fleshed out her characters in order to make her point and it was obvious she spent some time understanding the subjects she planned to use as plot devices so you felt grounded in reality. That also caused its own share of problems as you will find your own emotions challenged thanks to her vivid writing.

People who like to have their brains challenged while reading a good fictional story or are interested in a thought provoking examination of dysfunctional relationships will be pulled towards as it digs into your psyche and hooks you to the end.

by Tara Sheehan

The first thing about this book that attracted my attention was the title. Immediately I started to wonder who this man was in his needlecord jacket.

That man is Coll, named after the Scottish island, not short for Colin. In his 50s, he is one of those men who comes to life around a woman he feels 'gets him'. Felicity is one of those women but his poor long-suffering partner of 10 years, Sarah, doesn't seem to be anymore.

Although Coll is the character around which the story revolves, it's told from the points of view of Felicity and Sarah. It's very much a character-driven tale with little plot as such. It's a slice of life story, covering the short time after Coll meets Felicity. I liked Felicity in many ways but I found her to be quite selfish at times. She's strong and goes for what she wants (even when that means breaking up her 30 year marriage to a good man). She's a restaurateur and a mother. But I liked Sarah more for her kindness and her patience even if I did want to shake her sometimes for her seeming devotion to a man who calls her a liability! They were two quite different female characters and I liked the contrast between them.

I found this to be a fascinating read. Being a character-driven book means the characters have to deliver and they do here. I found I could imagine each one very well, how they would behave and speak. The two women do a good job of describing Coll too, essentially a weak man who thinks highly of himself and to be honest has few redeeming features.

I cared about the female characters. Sarah and Coll visit Venice and without giving anything away, I felt Sarah's emotions so strongly during their trip. I was also pleased with the ending which I thought was just right.

I was happy when I got to the end to find out that some of the characters feature in Linda MacDonald's other books. I really liked this one and it grew on me more and more as I read on. It kind of crept up on me - a quiet book which had a real impact on me. There's a lot of empathy in the writing. This is a look at the psychology of relationships, how we can hurt each other and how selfish we can be sometimes. It's a brilliant look at human nature at its best and worst. I loved it.

by Nicola Smith

From the odd title I knew this was going to be a little different. Loved the traumatic rollercoaster of "mature" dating, moving on after separation, and the very well-written portrayal of emotional abuse. Great complex characters - the eternal bachelor Coll, the self-centred Felicity and the vulnerable Sarah.

It is part of a longer series of books, but totally stands on its own - I have not read any of the others but I plan to go back to the first one now.

by Lexi Rees (NetGalley)

This book was such a breath of fresh air, something a little different, and such an enjoyable read. Silly of me really, but I was expecting something rather more earnest and less accessible – and, I must be honest, the book’s title did reinforce my totally wrong impression. I didn’t even know I loved reading about “the psychology of relationships” – but I most certainly do!

Because what the author does so very well is to lay before us real people – people we recognise, who behave as real people do. And real people sometimes behave badly, make you shake your head in disbelief, sometimes drive you to the moral high ground when you disapprove of their actions, and sometimes make you feel very uncomfortable when you see them making mistakes you might well have made yourself. They experience self doubt, disappointment and heartbreak – and moments of sheer joy. This book captures it all, wrapped around a fascinating story – no massive fireworks, just life and relationships presenting opportunities and challenges that the characters negotiate and deal with in their own ways.

The characterisation in this book is quite exceptional – my heart bled for Sarah as she desperately poured love into her relationship with little return, and Felicity became my very best friend as she wrestled with the life-changing consequences of her earlier actions, the complexities of moving on, and coming to terms with the changes that have damaged her foundations.

"I was married for thirty-odd years, but now I am an outcast of the family group, wandering the periphery like the meerkat who misbehaves, snatching moments of solace with those whom I love, and then scuttling off into the night to hide in my flat, often alone and mostly sad."

As for Coll… some of his actions made me gasp, and I loved the book’s construction in that the reader always knows rather more about what’s going on than the people directly involved. I always enjoy reading about rather older characters who have more depth and have lived a little – although this book is 100% a stand alone read, I’m kicking myself that I didn’t discover them sooner through the author’s earlier books.

And I really must mention the strength of the writing – smoothly readable, easy to lose yourself in the story, humour and outrage sitting comfortably side by side. One of the joys of reading on the kindle is the ability to highlight passages you’d like to revisit later, for those moments when you’re struck by some thought or expression – I’ve rarely used the function as much, because there were so many times that small observations or comments so perfectly summed up what life can really be like.

"I have often thought that life seems to deal out good times and bad times in batches rather than a mix of the two. I hear people say, ‘And as if that wasn’t enough…’ or, ‘Just when you think things can’t get any worse…’ The trajectory of life is rarely a ripple; more often a mountain range of peaks and troughs."

I often say that for a book to really impress me it needs to engage my emotions, win my heart, and move me – but I’m always rather pleased when it engages my brain a little too. This delightful book delivered on every level – Linda MacDonald is an author I’ll most definitely be seeking out again.

by Anne Williams

After reading two of Linda’s previous books I knew vaguely what to expect from her writing style this time. The Man in the Needlecord Jacket can be read as a stand alone but you will definitely benefit from reading the others to become accustomed to the characters.

If you are looking for a flimsy, light chick-lit this isn’t it. The beauty of this author is her ability to get into the minds of her characters and portray the reality of life to the reader. As we get older circumstances change, the first full flush of youth disappears and relationships tend to take on substance.

Sarah has been hurt in the past, she has been with Coll (not Colin!) for ten years and lays her heart on the line for him, he is an absolute cad, he treats her like dirt and openly chases and catches ‘other women’. Why oh why does Sarah tolerate him!? I could see her desperation at not wanting to be alone but from an outsiders point of view she should have kicked him to the kerb long ago.

Felicity is regretting her dalliance with the much younger Gianni and wants to scurry back to husband Ted, her problems lie with Marianne who has since become involved with Ted. Coll shows up at Felicity’s restaurant one day and sweet talks her into displaying some of his artwork .. charismatic, slime ball that he is, soon begins flirting with her.

Now to my mind if Felicity was determined to be apologetic and give her marriage another chance she would not have been tempted by Coll. Meanwhile Sarah is being used and abused by him yet again.

This is told from Felicity and Sarah’s point of view so you really get to know them both and can feel the anguish emanating all round. I felt desperately sorry for Sarah but feel she should have stood up for herself, I wasn’t overly keen on Felicity and as for Coll, well I know what I would have done to him if he stepped out of line.

The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is totally absorbing, it explores human nature and relationships and possibly delves where some other authors are afraid to tread. It is the kind of book that continues to ring in your ears long after finishing it as it slowly slots into place and various possible scenarios unfold, or perhaps that was just the way my mind worked!

Thanks to Linda for my copy and Anne from Random Things Tours for inviting me onto the blog tour. I read and reviewed voluntarily.

by Alison Drew

Reading this book felt like coming home to familiar characters. Having read Meeting Lydia and A Meeting of a Different Kind I was confident that once again Linda MacDonald would lead me into a thought provoking path with this book. And, I was right. While The Man With The Needlecord Jacket can be read as a stand alone I highly recommend reading the other books too simply for the sheer enjoyment of reading them.

In this book we once again meet Felicity, Ted and Marianne. Life has not gone according to plan for Felicity. A liaison with a chef during what she feels must have surely been some form of midlife crisis and her husband Ted's fault, has meant she is no longer living in the family home and is now alone in a pokey flat above her restaurant with no lover and no husband. Felicity is back in the country and intent on moving straight back into her marriage to Ted, despite her indiscretions. However, while she was in Italy with her younger lover, Ted was making a life for himself with Marianne. Felicity is not happy and must find a way to endear herself with her family once again and move back into Ted's life. She sees Marianne has merely collateral damage in this plan. However, Felicity's plan goes slightly awry when she meets the charming and flirtatious Coll. An artist who wants to hang his paintings in her newly opened restaurant, Coll is an enigmatic character and Felicity finds herself drawn to him.

Coll is the type of character that you instantly dislike. He is in a relationship with Sarah but the relationship is clearly one-sided. Sarah is in love with him and they've been 'together' for a very long time. Coll uses Sarah whenever it suits him, not committing in any shape or form to the relationship and coming and going as he pleases. Sarah is even aware that he collects 'Other Women' like other men collect stamps! The fact that he takes them out and nothing more is purely innocent in Coll's eyes and he has no thought for Sarah's feelings. Coll becomes slightly obsessed with Felicity and Sarah can feel the life she has with him, such as it is, slipping away.

What I loved about this book is that many people will be able to relate to the character of Sarah so well. I was drawn to her and wanted to scream at her to walk away from this selfish and self serving man. However, Sarah is clearly someone who after suffering from the loss of her first husband does not wish to find herself alone and lost again and Coll is better than nothing. She's been with him so long that she is mistaking habit for love.

This book is excellent at exploring human relationships and the human psyche with regards to those relationships. I simply love the fact that the characters are not 20 something beautiful people but middle-aged, scared and feeling that the future is not as well mapped out as they once thought it was. Linda MacDonald has explored the complexities of human relationships beautifully and I found this to be a really thought provoking book. Highly recommended!

by NetGalley review

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