The Glass Guardian - Reviews

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A review by Lyn Baines from her blog

...The story is about love, loss, grief, music, WWI, Skye, family secrets, loneliness and a ghost who will break your heart.

Ruth has suffered more grief in a very short time than anyone should have to bear. She's lost her lover, her father and her aunt. Her Aunt Janet's death has hit her hard. Janet virtually brought Ruth up after her mother's death and the time she spent at Janet's house, Tigh na Linne, on Skye, represents Ruth's happiest memories. Ruth inherits the house and travels to Skye to decide what to do with her life. Her career as a television gardener has come to an end. Maybe Skye represents a new beginning?

Ruth begins working on the garden and looking through Janet's archive. She was a well-known composer and a Canadian musicologist, Athelstan Blake, wants to write her biography. Ruth's discoveries cause some concern. The manuscript of Janet's most famous work, In Memoriam is in three different hands. In Memoriam is very different from Janet's work before & after. Could she have appropriated someone else's work?

...Ruth gradually realises that she's not alone at Tigh na Linne. The house is haunted and the ghost is not entirely a stranger to her. As winter envelops the house and Ruth's loneliness and confusion increase, it becomes apparent that her future is intimately entwined with her family's past and her passion for a man who died one hundred years ago.

Atmosphere is so very important in any supernatural story. Linda Gillard has created a completely believable world in THE GLASS GUARDIAN that spans the real and the unreal, the past and the present. The best ghost stories take place in winter, illuminated bya cosy fire and flickering candlelight. Skye is the perfect setting, the bare wintry landscape mirroring Ruth's despair and grief when she first arrives at Tigh na Linne. Ruth is a vulnerable and very believable character. She has few warm memories and all of them are bound up with Skye and her Aunt Janet. Her determination to discover all she can about Janet's life & the earlier family history is a fascinating part of the story.

I can't say too much about the romantic hero of the book as it would spoil the story. I'll just say that if you've loved the heroes of Linda's earlier books, you won't be disappointed. The love story is tender and romantic but tinged with the grief and regrets of an earlier age. If you don't know Linda's books, what are you waiting for?!

As usual with Linda's novels, I read THE GLASS GUARDIAN in almost one sitting, I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. I was completely caught up in Ruth's journey. If you enjoy a love story with atmosphere, intelligent, multi-faceted characters and a touch of the supernatural, I think you'll enjoy THE GLASS GUARDIAN.

From a review on Lindsay Healy's blog The Little Reader Library

...The author sensitively explores Ruth's feelings of loss, of not being certain of the next step in her life, and, as the seasons change, the beautiful but increasingly isolated location and the depiction of the wintry weather adds to the atmosphere of the story. Equally sensitive is the portrayal of the strong love story that emerges, and how someone who knows so much about death can teach someone else so much about life...

I have enjoyed reading many of this author's previous novels and this one was no exception. Linda Gillard writes convincingly and authentically about emotions and relationships, creating believable female characters who have lived life, and attractive male leads, incorporating serious elements, and humour, as well as always delivering a highly readable, compelling storyline that keeps me engrossed. Here the author gives the reader an extra dimension to the story, offering us a supernatural or paranormal element to the tale.

This is a captivating story, dealing with passionate love and tragic death, loss, isolation, family history and secrets. I liked the inclusion of music and the key role it has to play in this story. I love the combination of a love story with a ghostly twist to the tale. A ghost story or a story with a supernatural element wouldn't be my first choice of read, but Linda handles this element in a clever way and incorporates it into a convincing story and consequently I felt drawn in to the ideas raised and open to what occurs.

An old, crumbling house, snow falling all around and a handsome ghost...curling up with this book on a dark night would be perfect!

Linda Gillard

A review by Tahlia Newland on the Awesome Indies book blog.

It's not often these days that I get really excited about a book, but this is one of those times. I simply loved it. Not only is it a lovely, sensitively written story with characters you fall in love with immediately, but it is also deeply moving and inspiring.

...This is not your ordinary paranormal romance; no vampires, werewolves, witches and so on, and no young gorgeous kick ass heroine. Ruth is in her forties and totally normal, except that she sees a ghost... He's more like a guardian angel. Love shines through his every word and action. I don't want to tell you too much because his story is the mystery that you must read to unravel. All you really need to know is that this heart-warming book is a rare gem and truly not to be missed.

The ending? Beautiful and completely satisfying. I cried tears of joy. The story went exactly the way I wanted it to but I never found it predictable. Linda Gillard is an inspiration. I'd love to be able to write as well as her.

"Highland Supernatural Love Story" (5-star review by Lynn L)

There is something very special about ghost stories set in Scotland; it just seems to be THE perfect setting and as usual, Linda Gillard has crafted a fine story with the elements of supernatural, mystery, and romance including loves lost and found. Ruth Travers is at a major crossroad where she has some serious life choices to make after a year of much emotional upheaval and to further complicate or make things interesting, she comes into contact with 3 very interesting men. It's a nice change to have a heroine who has some miles on her and does not spend most of the book making the youthful blunders that the heroines do in so much of paranormal literature. The ghost element adds interest and poignancy to the story and speaks to the transcendent nature of love across time and eternity.

As with Linda's other books, the reader gets a good story as well as an education; in this case, music, the life of a soldier in World War I, Victorian houses on the Isle of Skye and gardening in such a talented way, interwoven into the story so that it does not distract, but rather enhances and enriches the characters and their relationship.

Even readers who are not generally paranormal fans will enjoy this story because the quality of the writing makes it a very worthy read.

"The Call" - Scots American War Memorial,
Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh
Photo: Eileen Henderson

"Couldn't put it down!" (5 star Amazon UK review by EL)

Some books are just perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon curled up in an armchair with a mug of tea. THE GLASS GUARDIAN, the latest from Linda Gillard (whose previous books I have read and loved without exception), is one of them.

But it's not just a light-hearted read; I found this book both thought-provoking and strangely comforting. I ended up reading it from cover to cover (well, metaphorically, on my Kindle) in a single sitting as I couldn't bear to put it down for more than a few moments.

THE GLASS GUARDIAN deals to some extent with themes of loss and the dark roads that life sometimes leads us down. Yet it isn't a depressing book, rather the contrary. It has a strong focus on the importance of friends and loved ones in combatting loneliness, not forgetting of course the healing powers of love in its many guises.

...It's a difficult book to review without giving away hints of the plot, which would be unforgivable. So suffice to say that I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good read, whether you think you're a fan of 'supernatural' stories or not. In fact I often stay clear of books with that label, but this is by no means typical of the genre, and in my opinion completely transcends the stereotype.

THE GLASS GUARDIAN made me want to visit Skye and see the amazing backdrop of this book for myself. Highly recommended!

A 4-star Goodreads review by Hilary

Paranormal romance is a genre that I have not tried before - would my ultra-sensible self be able to cope with it? Answer - yes!... I thought this was a wonderful story, richly detailed and so romantic, with so many elements that are just what I love to read about. There's a musical theme, some transatlantic scholarship, a satisfying mystery, and the gorgeous landscape of Skye - this time with the added enhancement of snow and ice. Out of this is woven a truly original, convincing and - best of all - totally unscary ghost story, and a wonderful chain of love stories across generations.

The protagonist, Ruth, is a strong, grown-up heroine, who has been battered down by a series of personal losses. She comes to Skye to take over the house she has inherited from her much-loved Aunt Janet, a notable composer and her surrogate mother, and finds two childhood friends. One is only too real, the other, well, imaginary - or just how imaginary is he? And who else can see him?

If all ghost stories could be as satisfying, emotionally true and, yes, comforting as this one, then I shall happily embrace the tradition of ghost stories at Christmas.

"Enchanting" (5-star Amazon review by Welsh Annie)

If anyone doubts that you can cuddle up with a Kindle, this book will prove to you that you really can. In some ways it's an unusual book to have come from Linda Gillard, but in other ways it really isn't. It has the strongly drawn characters we're used to, the same insightful examination of thoughts and emotions, and that strong sense of place in the Skye setting and the wonderful Tigh na Linne. This is a book that delves into the pain of loss, and the healing power of love, and I found it quite enchanting. I really enjoyed the central narrative which looked at the history of her musician aunt and the wider family history, and while there will be those who say that the narrative turns on a lot of coincidence and chance, it really worked for me in my glorious state of suspended disbelief.

This is a story with a strong supernatural element - something I'd normally avoid - but there's nothing unsettling or uncomfortable about it, just a strong feeling of love and caring. In its theme this book reminded me very much of the earlier books by Susanna Kearsley, but its style is totally Linda Gillard. I loved it.