Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

I never would have found out about Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard if Angie of Angieville didn’t feature it on her blog. Holly of Book Harbinger also gave it a glowing review so I knew it was pointless to resist. This book isn’t available here in the Philippines (or even in the US, I think) but you can order a copy from the Book Depository. I wanted a signed copy though so I contacted Linda Gillard and she was kind enough to give me a review copy when I bought her other book, Star Gazing. I decided to read Emotional Geology first.

Here’s the summary from Goodreads:

Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

Oh wow, I don’t think I can write a review that would do this book justice. I can’t even classify what genre it falls under. Emotional Geology is about so many unfamiliar things – it’s about forty-seven-year-old Rose and her everyday problems as she tries to cope with bipolar disorder and a past that’s been troubling her for years. Rose settles in a remote area in Scotland, hoping to immerse herself in her work as a textile artist. She finds a kindred spirit in Calum, a handsome younger man who teaches in the local school, climbs during his free time and writes poetry whenever he can. The story focuses on these two broken individuals – how they’re both burdened by their problems, how they try to rise above them and how they form a friendship based on how they see the world as artists. You know how someone gets you even when you barely know each other? I think that’s the case with Calum and Rose. The point of view bounces from first to third person with bits of poetry thrown in between, changing from the present to several years in the past to fully explain Rose’s experiences. It was a bit confusing at the start but I became used to the writing as I moved forward.

This was a refreshing and enlightening read for me because like I said, I know nothing about textile artists, climbing, geology or even Scotland. North Uist seems like a bleak and quiet place. Megan, Rose’s daughter, even worries that her mother has chosen a lonely life when Rose decides to settle there. I think it’s an appropriate choice for Rose and it’s the perfect setting for her story. I would love to visit the area if I ever get the chance. Some of the characters in the book, like Calum, are serious climbers and I never realized how dangerous the sport (or hobby or obsession) is. I’ve tried some wimpy local climbs (very easy trails) and I also have friends who are mountain and rock climbers and I don’t think they face the same risks that the climbers in Emotional Geology do. For one thing, we never have to worry about snow or frostbite here in the Philippines. Even if I wasn’t familiar with a lot of things in this book, I was drawn to the characters because they felt very real. Linda Gillard did an amazing job of making me feel like I was inside Rose’s head. The author was able to illustrate how erratic Rose’s moods are – what Rose was thinking and feeling during high and low points in her life and what causes her to react in a certain way. This might seem like a grim book but it has a message of hope as the characters struggle to move on so they could find the happiness that they deserve. Haunting, lyrical, Linda Gillard’s writing will stay with you days after you finish reading Emotional Geology. Highly recommended for fans of literary and women’s fiction.

Other reviews: (manually generated)
Book Harbinger
Tempting Persephone
Rhapsody in Books


12 thoughts on “Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

  1. Angie’s done a good job of making sure people know about this book–I found out about Ms. Gillard and her works when she interviewed her on her blog and every review I’ve read since then always mentions Angie as the one that put this book (and Star Gazing) on their radar. πŸ˜€

    Anyways, great review. πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Sandy! I’m not surprised that Angie has influenced several people to read and review this book, she takes book pushing seriously. πŸ™‚ There’s something about the way she reviews that just convinces you to pick up any book that she recommends.

      • Lol. I really do.

        I’m so glad it worked for you, Chachic. I was completely swept away by it. So nice to read about a more mature woman dealing with her life. And I did fall madly in love with she and Calum together.

        Scotland is breathtaking. If you do ever get the chance to go, take it!

      • Thanks again for another great recommendation, Angie! I look forward to reading Star Gazing and I hope that it stands up to this debut novel.

        Scotland sounds amazing, I really hope I get to see it someday.

  2. I’m glad you liked it so much! I found being in Rose’s head very enlightening.

    Sandy, lol! If there was an award for Best Book-Pusher Angie would win for sure. πŸ˜€

    • You and Angie convinced me to get a copy of this and I’m glad I did. πŸ™‚ Initially, I wanted my mom to read it because I knew it had an older woman as the main character but she hasn’t had time to pick it up.

  3. fantastic review chachic! I love a Scottish setting and am often drawn to characters with bipolar and overall it just sounds wonderfully different!

    My mum is Scottish and her and da go over there often and spend the whole time going on these epic walks! I’ve looked through all there pictures and the scenery is just *amazing*

    • I find it charming that you call your parents mum and da. πŸ˜› I know, I saw some of the pictures in Linda Gillard’s website – Scotland is really beautiful. Very different from the scenery here in the Philippines.

      I hope you get to read this one, Nomes. I’d love to know what you think of it. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks, Chachic, for your great review! πŸ™‚ I was so pleased to hear you enjoyed it. If you make it to Scotland, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. If you’re short of time, try to get to the Isle of Arran which is known as “Scotland in miniature”.

    • Linda, thanks again for providing a review copy and for dropping by to read my review. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tip about Isle of Arran! I’m not planning to go to Scotland anytime soon but I do hope I’ll get around to it someday.

Comments are like chocolate. :) Maraming salamat / thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.