Star Gazing by Linda Gillard

This is the third book I’ve read by Linda Gillard and although I’m not much of a romance fan, I must admit that I do enjoy her romances. The reason I usually steer clear of romance is I find them too predictable but the same can’t be said of her books. She manages to get as many twists and turns into the storyline as you would expect in a crime/mystery novel.

Star Gazing is set in Scotland, mainly in Edinburgh but the action moves to the Isle of Skye for a while. Marianne Fraser is a young widow whose husband Harvey died in the Piper Alpha disaster on the 6th July 1988. If you aren’t of a certain age you might not know that that was the world’s worst offshore disaster, causing the death of 167 men on an oil platform in the North Sea 120 miles north of Aberdeen.

Marianne who has been blind since birth subsequently miscarried her baby which everyone tells her was maybe for the best, and a baby would only have made life complicated. Music has become her passion in life but over time she has developed a coping strategy to protect herself from life and people, but during one of her frequent walks in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens she meets Keir.

Keir goes out of his way to describe experiences which the sighted population take for granted but Marianne can’t even imagine, like cathedrals and stars. Marianne is thrilled but she still has an urge to protect herself from men and Keir is damaged goods too. It all adds up to an entertaining and cleverly written book. As usual I’m just giving you the bare bones of the story, I don’t like to spoil it for people.

One thing that I did think was a bit strange though – the sense of smell plays quite a big part in Star Gazing, as you would expect from something about a blind person, but the smell of snow was never mentioned. I can see reasonably well but I’ve always been able to smell snow. I know when it has snowed overnight, even before I open my eyes, and I can smell it on the wind when it’s coming, so I would have thought that Marianne would have been able to smell the snow on Skye. What about you, can you smell snow?

Peggy, maybe you could ask your brother Donald if he can smell snow?

Library Haul and Scones

I had another bash at baking scones today. They’re something that I just can’t get right, usually they could be used as ice hockey pucks. This afternoon’s date scones are edible but they aren’t the lovely light consistency that I’m looking for and they didn’t rise much as usual, I think Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood would say that they’ve been ‘overworked’ – don’t know what else it can be.

Anyway to cheer myself up I went to the library. The main library is going to be closed for a year I think, whilst it’s refurbished so I haven’t been to a library for about six weeks. One of the many empty shops in the high street has been turned into a small library for the duration, it’s better than nothing! Actually I think it’s a good idea as the original library building isn’t exactly central and there are loads of people in the town who have never darkened its door. They just may get some new readers in Kirkcaldy!

I came out with:

The Odd Women by George Gissing. I think it was Anbolyn of gudrun’s tights who read this one recently and it was recommended in the introduction to Patrick Hamilton’s Slaves of Solitude. By the way, in case you don’t know yet, Anbolyn has done another ‘flit’ actually and virtually and her new place is looking spiffing!

Star Gazing by Linda Gillard – I’ve enjoyed her previous books.

Beatrice Goes to Brighton by M.C. Beaton – which I hope is going to be a hoot. I think this is one which Jo at The Book Jotter enjoyed.

Midsummer Night in the Workhouse by Diana Athill. I know nothing about this book and I chose it simply because it’s a Persephone, so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like.

Now why did I borrow four books when I have loads of books of my own which I should be reading?! Oh yes, it was to cheer myself up after yet another scone failure. Does anybody have a foolproof scone recipe?