The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley

By Susan Örnbratt

The Particular Appeal of Gillian PugsleyBlurb

From the shores of The Great Lakes to the slums of Bombay and a tiny island in between, this love story takes the reader on an intimate journey to unravel a family secret that’s lain hidden for generations.

To satisfy her wandering feet, eighteen-year old Gillian McAllister is sent from Ireland to Canada in the summer of 1932.  She arrives with her Irish ways intact, determined not to let the wiles of crop duster Christian Hunter woo her into submission.  Yet as the summer unfolds and the sweet taste of love grows, Gillian’s appeal lures more than she anticipates.

Fourteen years, a Great Depression, and a World War later, Christian sets out to discover why Gillian was ripped from his life.  What he discovers on the Isle of Man will change them both forever.  Not even a thatched cottage by the sea, a spritely Gillian, or memories sprinkled on a page can mask the secret that has been buried for too long.  But it isn’t until a set of poems is given to Gillian’s granddaughter that the real mystery––Gillian’s true secret––is freed.

So who is Pugsley?


Plot:  I read some other reviews and the blurb for The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley, and decided this was a “must read.” When the author contacted me to ask if I would be interested in reviewing her book, I didn’t hesitate.  I loved the story.  It is definitely my kind of book, containing a mix of genres – historical fiction and romance. What could be better?   The book did not disappoint. There is some mystery to the story, but it is eventually brought to light.  The story was, at times, exciting with lots of surprises, and at other times, melancholy, but not overly so.  The way the author kept going back and forth from present time (2003) to the early days of the story (1931-32 and 1946) kept my interest in overdrive. The transitions were smooth and easy to follow.

Characters:  What made this book so enjoyable for me is that it is character driven.  Gillian McAllister Pugsley, is seen as strong and independent with a lot of love to give, but will she find Mr. Right, and if she does, will she let him back into her life?  Christian Hunter is everything a young girl could hope to find – handsome, strong, interesting, romantic, daring.  As the story progressed, the characters grew with it, and this increased their believability.

Writing:  I loved the way the book was set up.  A poem written by the author’s grandmother preceded each chapter.  The story was easy to follow even though it kept changing back and forth between times, and sometimes from other characters’ point of view.

Author BioSusan Örnbratt

Susan Örnbratt was born in London, Canada and grew up on the dance floor until her brother’s high school rowing crew needed a coxswain. Quickly, she traded in her ballet shoes for a megaphone as rowing filled all of Susan’s time outside of school while competing in regattas across Canada and the US. When she was 16, Susan became a member of the Junior National Rowing Team and went on to compete in the Junior and Senior World Championships and the XIII Commonwealth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland.

A graduate from the University of Western Ontario in French and the University of Manitoba in elementary education, as well as attending L’Université Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand II in France while she worked as a fille au pair, Susan has gone on to teach and live in six countries.

Although a maple leaf will forever be stitched on her heart, she has called Sweden her home for the past sixteen years with a recent three-year stint in North Carolina, USA for her husband’s work. It was there, where Susan wrote her second and third novels while achieving her long time goal of signing with a publisher for The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley.

Susan lives in Gothenburg with her husband and two children and an apple tree nibbled on by the local moose population.  If she isn’t shooing away the beasts, you can find her in her garden with some pruning shears, a good book and always a cup of tea. If Susan were dried out, she could be brewed.

Author:  Susan Örnbratt

Title:  The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley

No illustrator

Format:  Paperback and e-Book

Publisher:  Light Messages Publishing

Publication Date:  April 23, 2015

Number of Pages:  329

Genre:  Historical women’s fiction


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The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Michelle Clements James ©

29 thoughts on “The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley

      1. I have discovered Goodreads. It’s neater than tacking notes to the refrigerator. I do have a pile of paperbacks on a traymobile and beside my bed, but generally, I cannot afford the space to hoard books, given I am in an apartment. A pity, because I think they say a lot about your personality – just as an LP collection did in the “old” days. We are lucky to have an on-site library where I live, but even its guardians are screaming “enough now!”.

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  1. Although I’m not normally one for romance, as you may have gathered, I do like books with a sense of mystery and history…and anything that rhymes those as well, you do have a way of intriguing me with said books.

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