Tuesday, 30 May 2017

The Man In The Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald
Release Date:28th May 2017
Publisher: Matador - An Imprint of Troubador Publishing
Genres: Adult Contemporary Fiction / Domestic Noir

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.


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!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Man-Needlecord-Jacket-Linda-MacDonald-ebook/dp/B06XVBG84M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496129469&sr=8-1&keywords=the+man+in+the+needlecord+jacket https://www.amazon.com/Man-Needlecord-Jacket-Linda-MacDonald-ebook/dp/B06XVBG84M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496129153&sr=8-1&keywords=the+man+in+the+needlecord+jacket  http://www.troubador.co.uk/book_info.asp?bookid=4447

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Linda MacDonald is the author of three independently published novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different Kind and The Alone Alternative. They are all contemporary adult fiction, multi-themed, but with a focus on relationship issues.

After studying psychology at Goldsmiths', Linda trained as a secondary science and biology teacher. She taught these subjects for several years before moving to a sixth-form college to teach psychology. In 2012, she gave up teaching to focus fully on writing.
Linda was born and brought up in Cockermouth, Cumbria and now lives in Beckenham, Kent.
Twitter: @LindaMac1

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