Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Matador (1 Nov 2012)
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.
I’ve been looking forward to reading A Meeting of a Different Kind having read and reviewed Meeting Lydia in October 2011 (you can read my review here).
A Meeting of a Different Kind opens on a morning scene in the kitchen of Edward’s family home. We’re introduced to the change in Felicity since gaining her inheritance and how Edward feels about the change.
Next, we witness a scene with Taryn. She’s throwing out live-in boyfriend Marc. Taryn, used to her independence, has used an excuse to get on and off lover Marc out of her life.
We find out the background of Edward and Felicity’s relationship before we find out about Taryn’s childhood and the reasons for her not being able to engage emotionally in any intimate relationships.
Taryn and Marianne meet up and from this moment, the thread of Marianne and Edward’s friendship from the first book is woven in to Edward and Taryn’s story.
Written in the third person with alternating chapters for each character the reader identifies with Edward, Taryn and Marianne and becomes caught up in this love triangle. Three very different characters and with the third person narrative, I was able to empathise and understand each one’s motives. Even though Marianne loses her trust and I felt her pain, I still understood why Taryn and Edward chose their actions. I felt the author portrayed Edward’s confusion particularly well as his life underwent the changes from Felicity making all the sacrifices to then putting her own needs and dreams first. Writing from a male perspective I imagine is quite challenging but Edward felt real and three-dimensional. MacDonald gets right to the heart of her characters.
Taryn and Edward come to realisations and therefore healing takes place. My blog readers should know by now how much I enjoy seeing crisis and understanding leading to growth in a character … we have two characters that follow this path in A Meeting of a Different Kind!
Broadclyst and The Isles of Scilly come alive in this story … MacDonald either knows them really well or has researched extensively. Felicity and her eco-farming is also very real.
It was great to read about Marianne again and to see where her friendship with Edward led. She is a much stronger character here having undergone her watershed in Meeting Lydia. The ending is such that I hope we get to read more about the underlying tensions between them!
A Meeting of a Different Kind is about accepting the changes in life and adjusting to different age-related cycles; exploring childhood experiences and perceptions, so that we don’t project the pain out into the world. It is about how we live with the mistakes we make and how we move on from them. MacDonald’s writing style draws you in with a steady rhythm and alongside the psychology underlying the character’s choices, makes this an engaging read.
I have no hesitation in recommending A Meeting of a Different Kind. This one is staying on my bookshelf:
I would like to thank the author for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Meeting Lydia Amazon Paperback £7.19
Meeting Lydia Amazon Kindle £3.67
A Meeting of a Different Kind Amazon Paperback £5.99
A Meeting of a Different Kind Amazon Kindle £3.99
I interviewed the author on the day of publication of A Meeting of a Different Kind. You can read the interview here
Linda MacDonald Tweets @LindaMac1