Monday, July 5, 2010

Star Gazing by Linda Gillard

I won this lovely little book from Margot at Joyfully Retired. Her review made it sound like a book I would like and, oh boy, was she right. I'm of Scottish descent and the book is set in Scotland, partly in Edinburgh and partly on the Isle of Skye where Gillard lives. That alone makes it irresistible to me.

There isn't much description of Edinburgh, but that city isn't the point really. Gillard's hero makes blind Marianne, the protagonist of the story, "see" the Isle of Skye and because of that the reader sees it too. At one point he gives Marianne a wooden three-dimensional map of Skye that his grandfather made. It's a stroke of genius, but then that genius for describing things we take for granted but the blind can have no concept of is what draws her and the reader to him. Think of it for a minute. How do you describe stars, your reflection in a mirror, the height of a great tree, how leaves look blowing in the wind?

Marianne has been blind from birth. She does very well in life, finding ways to cope and things to enjoy. She tends to be crabby when her skills fail her. However, she lives with her older sister, a famous author of what Marianne considers silly novels. They argue all the time but her sister is a godsend and Marianne loves her. Another wonderful character is her sister's Goth assistant, a young man with make-up, piercings, and odd clothing who is actually a tender, loving fellow. When Marianne meets a man from Skye named Keir, they worry about her. For one thing they think she has imagined him for quite a while until they actually meet him.

Keir is one of those too-good-to-be-true guys. He's strong, manly, sexy, caring, poetic, charming, witty, everything you'd want in a man. It's his job that causes a problem. He is a geologist working for an oil company (I know, very timely now) and is gone for months at a time. Since Marianne is a widow who lost her husband when an oil rig exploded and miscarried their child just after, she's afraid to fall in love with Keir.

Yesterday was hot and humid here, but I hardly noticed since I spent the afternoon finishing Star Gazing. I loved all four of these characters and I loved Skye. It has been a long time since I was sad when I finished a book because I wanted it to go on and on forever.

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