Thursday, 1 November 2018

#BlogTour A Meeting of a Different Kind and Alone Alternative by Linda MacDonald

Today it's a double-whammy BlogTour featuring two books by Linda MacDonald. Both books are part of a multiple part series, this is a trilogy that tells the story of the friendship between Marianne and Edward. It starts with Meeting Lydia (click the link to read my review), then A Meeting of a Different Kind and ends with The Alone Alternative.

About the Author
Linda MacDonald is the author of four novels: Meeting Lydia and the stand-alone sequels, A Meeting of a Different KindThe Alone Alternative and The Man in the Needlecord Jacket. All Linda's books are 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. The first two novels took ten years in writing and publishing, using snatched moments in the evenings, weekends and holidays. 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 in Kent.

Follow @LindaMac1 on Twitter or @LindaMacDonaldAuthor on Facebook
Follow @matadorbooks
Buy A Meeting of a Different Kind
Buy The Alone Alternative

About A Meeting of a Different Kind
When archaeologist Edward Harvey’s wife Felicity inherits almost a million, she gives up her job, buys a restaurant and, as a devotee of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall, starts turning their home into a small eco-farm. Edward is not happy, not least because she seems to be losing interest in him. Taryn is a borderline manic-depressive, a scheming minx, a seductress and user of men. Edward and Taryn don’t know each other but they both know Marianne. To Edward, Marianne is a former classmate who sends him crazy emails. She is Taryn’s best friend, and when Marianne meets Edward, she tells Taryn how wonderful he is and that he is not the philandering type.

Taryn sees a challenge and concocts a devious plan to meet him during a series of lectures he is giving at the British Museum. When Edward and Taryn’s paths cross, questions of friendship, loyalty and betrayal are played out against a backdrop of mental fragility and the destabilising effects of a large inheritance... Set in Broadclyst and Beckenham, with a chapter on the Isles of Scilly, A Meeting of a Different Kind is the stand-alone sequel to Meeting Lydia, continuing the story from the perspectives of two very different characters. Like its prequel, it will appeal to fans of adult fiction, especially those interested in the psychology of relationships.

Review: A Meeting of a Different Kind
This really is Edward's story and his view on his relationships with Marianne and Felicity. Marianne takes a bit of a secondary role in this second part in the Lydia series.

I find Edward very selfish and self-obsessed. He thinks the world should revolve around him, which explains why he is so surprised when his wife Felicity starts new business ventures without consulting him. Keeping in mind what happened in Meeting Lydia, it is no wonder Felicity wants to
redefine what's important in her life.

It's quite interesting that Felicity is written with a sympathetic vibe in Lydia book 1, in this book she is written as the assertive woman regaining control of her life and in the third book she is cold and calculating. Seen through Edward's eyes, but it's also intriguing how the writer changes the view and perspective on the character as time progresses.

Although Edward becomes closer to Marianne in this book, especially as he confides in her about the slow demise of his marriage, he makes a serious mistake. The kind of mistake that Marianne finds unforgivable, and she turns her back on Edward.

The relationship between the two of them isn't just friendship, and regardless of whether both respective partners are aware of said relationship, it is still an emotional affair. The kind of relationship that is always tiptoeing on the precipice of a physical affair. This becomes really clear when Marianne reacts as if she has been betrayed like a wife or a girlfriend.

I really recommend picking up the first book in the series to understand the relationship between Edward, Marianne and their families, and the last book to see if they manage to pull themselves together and connect the way they want to.
This is a story full of complications and regrets, but that's life isn't it. In a way that is what the author wants to bring across, that real life can be painful, frustrating and overwrought with emotions.

About The Alone Alternative
Former classmates Edward and Marianne, now fifty-five, have experienced a turbulent few years having lost contact with each other and suffered painful disruption to their home lives. Reunited again, this time through Twitter, they set about a search for personal fulfilment, but once again there are obstacles in the way – not least in the form of twice-widowed Jessica, Edward’s neighbour, who threatens to destroy their pursuit of happiness and whose behaviour has alarming consequences.
The extraordinary weather conditions prompt Edward and a former colleague to resurrect an idea for a documentary series that sets to challenge consumerist lifestyles. The Isles of Scilly become a model for sustainability and a filming trip to the islands provides an idyllic backdrop to the unfolding romantic tensions.

Set in 2012, the year of the London Olympics, the action alternates between Broadclyst and Beckenham and examines the difficult issues faced in committing to a new relationship in midlife. Could being alone be a preferable alternative?
Continuing themes of psychology, relationships and environmental sustainability, The Alone Alternative is the sequel to A Meeting of a Different Kind and the third and final part of the 'Lydia' series. Written from both male and female perspectives, it also stands alone as a fascinating read for both men and women who enjoy thought-provoking fiction, keeping readers guessing until the very end.

Review: The Alone Alternative
This is the third and final part of Marianne and Edward's story, both of them are moving into new parts of their lives. Marianne is now a widow and Edward has been left to his own devices, as Felicity starts a new life with Gianni the chef.

Edward decides to try and reconnect with Marianne, despite cutting her off bluntly many years ago. He hopes to be able to pick up where they left off, which is quite normal for Edward. He spends so much time thinking about himself and how he can achieve the ultimate happiness that the women in his life often only have a secondary role.

I have to get something off my chest. I really dislike the way Edward and his family refer to Marianne as his Fangirl. It's demeaning and a proverbial urine take, which Edward is happy to go along with. Marianne is supposed to be a great friend, a kindred spirit and someone who he can confide in. Suggesting she is nothing but a groupie does her a disservice. It relegates her career, intelligence and the relationship between them to something akin to one person idolising another. Oh herald the great man walking among us.

In this story the paths of Marianne and Edward appear to be about to come together as one at last, but of course it is never quite plain sailing for the two of them. Edward evaluates each woman who crosses his path as a potential bed-bunny, some of his children are reluctant to give up on the idea of their nuclear family, and let's not forget the crazy village stalker.

It's an in-depth analysis of the love and friendship between Ed and Mari. A couple who have built a friendship over many years and never been in a position to take their relationship one step further.

One of the elements I have always enjoyed about this series is the age-range of the characters. Looking at the lives of middle-aged, and older men and women, and acknowledging that love, lust and desire doesn't just fade with age. Love, friendship and desire isn't just for the young. It's a multi-layered story full of contradictions and emotional turmoil.

Buy A Meeting of a Different Kind at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy The Alone Alternative at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Publisher: Matador
Read Meeting Lydia by Linda MacDonald
Read The Man in the Needlecord Jacket by Linda MacDonald

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