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Sunday, November 13, 2011

REVIEW OF GILLESPIE AND I - JANE HARRIS

As usual I came to this book later than most and I must be one of the few who have not read her first - The Observations. This story starts in 1933 with spells of going backwards and then coming forward to the 1933 period. Harriet Baxter a spinster of independent means meets Ned Gillespie an artist whom she befriends - not just him but his entire family. Harriet believes in the artist and also believes that he has not reached his full potential purely due to lack of opportunity and that he is much better than the prevalent Scottish artists of the day.

The story for the first half of the book is slow - Harriet being part and parcel of the Gillespie family. Almost family one would think. The ups and downs of this family both emotional and financial - the elder girls virulent manner despite being a little girl, the parents inability to see that something is radically wrong, the mother in law not just interfering but wanting to dominate the family are all part of the story which is rather tame. Interesting but ordinary everyday stuff.

Midway tragedy strikes and the way the book turns is dramatic. Totally unexpected I personally could not have figured it out at all. Why and how it did is the second part of the book and this is what keeps the reader enthralled. How Harriet copes with the changed circumstances of her life and what she must do to save herself (though she actually does very little) and fortunately lawyers seem to do the major part of saving her life is the next part of the story. Dramatic and frightening for Harriet who was all alone now with absolutely no one to turn to not family nor friends.

The book is one of sensation (particularly the second half) with a slight Victorian flavour to it which added to my interest.
Riveting read.

6 comments:

Blodeuedd said...

You know I still have not read a book by her, I really need to fix that

Sam (Tiny Library) said...

I had never even heard of her before this review :(

I'm not sure I like the sound of the shift of pace you describe.

farmlanebooks said...

I didn't think the first alf was slow, but agree the pace speeded up at it progressed. I'm glad you enjoyed this one too.

carolsnotebook said...

I haven't read anything by her, but it certainly sounds like I should.

bookdout said...

I haven't heard of this author but the book sounds interesting - thanks for sharing your review

Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

Jenny Q said...

Another one to add to the list!