By Susan Örnbratt
Light Messages Publishing (April 23, 2015)
Reviewed by Stefanie Kamerman
Susan Örnbratt tells us a love story in her debut novel, The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley. Spanning from the years of 2003 to 1946 to 1932, Ornbratt will make you ponder the lengths you would go to find the one whom you love the most.
In the year 1931, Gillian “Gilly” travels to Canada from England for the summer, against her father’s wishes. Gillian meets a handsome young man, Christian, and they both fall in love over the course of the summer. However, something happens towards the end of summer prompting Gilly to leave without saying goodbye. A stunned Christian, doesn’t know what to make of the situation, but he knows he will love Gillian always. Years pass, and after WWII, Christian recognizes Gillian’s face in the newspaper. Her face in the small clipping he carries around begins to tug his heart. On a whim, he travels from Canada to the Isle of Man, off the coast of England to find her. Christian hopelessly searches to find Gillian, and the truth to why she left all those years ago. But when he does find her, he realizes it isn’t the same Gillian he met all those years ago.
In present times, Gillian comes to terms with a diagnosis, numbering her days. She presents her granddaughter with an envelope of poems she wrote during her time with Christian in Canada. After all these years, Gillian hopes the truth she held on to for all these years will free itself through the poems, but more importantly the truth of her and Christian will come to light. As Gillian’s granddaughter pieces together the truth of the past, and Gillian’s time comes to a close in the present, we find love never dies and will always live within us.
As summer approaches, and beach books are planned, I recommend adding The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley to your list. Engaging, heartfelt, and beautiful scenery will leave you feeling an array of emotions and championing love.