Linda MacDonald is an author whose writing I’ve always enjoyed. The Man in the Needlecord Jacket is her fourth novel and although it is connected to The Alone Alternative through Felicity, you don’t need to have read any of the previous ‘Lydia’ novels to enjoy this one. It can be read as a stand-alone.
Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 3942 KB
Publisher: Matador (24 Mar. 2017)
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.
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.
Felicity is back from Italy and feeling alone and nostalgic. She’s decided she wants Edward back and tries her best to unsettle Marianne. When Coll arrives touting his art for her restaurant walls there’s a spark between them and she thinks he just might be the distraction she needs. Of course, what she doesn’t know is that Coll’s partner, Sarah, waits at her home for him knowing that this attraction is different than his OW (Other Women). Coll certainly knows how to ‘play’ the game with both women – leaving Felicity wanting more and Sarah tied up in anxiety.
Told from both Felicity and Sarah’s perspective (first person), I always think this gives an advantage knowing things each of our character’s don’t! I also think it gives me a richer understanding of what motivates a character. For the majority of the novel I really didn’t like a character (besides Coll!) but then something happened and I changed my mind. I love it when this happens!
At the beginning of the story I felt as if I knew Felicity a little from the previous stories, however, seeing life from her point of view I realised I didn’t know her very well at all. Even from something simple as her calling Edward ‘Ted’ gave me a different understanding of him and her life with him. It’s been interesting getting to know her, getting underneath that mask. I also enjoyed dipping into their children’s lives, seeing the adults they’ve become.
Sarah had my emotions hooked in from the beginning. She is such a survivor having to deal with what she does. She’s not blinkered but she does love Coll. I understood her 100% and identified with her. Visiting Venice, my disappointment was all encompassing!
Coll is the little boy who’s never grown up. He’s still living life from ego and in my opinion, a dangerous man!
This is an emotional read. We’re well aware of emotional scars from affairs that are physical, talking it over with close friends, taking time to heal. Emotional abuse isn’t so easy to define. What are the boundaries? I think The Man in the Needlecord Jacket opens that up and makes clear the destruction and hurt, giving pause for thought of what is acceptable behaviour and of course what is not.
The ending had me cheering and clapping. I think there’s more to explore for Felicity and Sarah …
The Man in the Needlecord Jacket was an outstanding read for me. It shines the light on the parts of ourselves that we want to keep hidden and has burrowed under my skin.
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