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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Particular Appeal of Gillian Pugsley

ISBN: 9781611531121
Publisher: Light Messages
Publication Date: 4/23/2015
Format: e-book
My Rating: 5 Stars +
Top Books of 2015
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, shattering the life they’ve built.
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.

My Review

A special thank you to Light Messages Publishing and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
THE PARTICULAR APPEAL OF GILLIAN PUGSLEY by Susan Ornbratt, an unveiling, a mystery of one woman's past—a beautiful love story, a journey across time, oceans, and war; written with stunning imagery and poetic prose, for a mesmerizing timeless work of art!
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.
Set in the 1930s, free spirited, independent, and adventurous Gillian Pugsley (Gilly) leaves Ireland for London to live with her sister, Beaty. She becomes a nanny to Shashi and Samir, the children of Indian royalty at the Wentworth Estates. The family and the children fall in love with her and extend her tenure by inviting her to return with them to India. She is excited, the adventurous girl, wanting to capture life to the fullest. However, her father does not wish for her to join them and sends her to live with relatives in Canada. While in Canada, at age eighteen, Gilly meets Christian, a romantic love relationship of two young people for one memorable magical summer. When she abruptly returns to Ireland, she leaves behind only a letter. Through the war and storms of life, Christian never forgets his Gilly, nor does Gilly forget her first love. Presently in 2003, Gillian is eighty-nine years old, and dying of cancer. She has decided it is time to share her story with her granddaughter, her name sake, the writer. Flashing back to 1931 when Gillian was seventeen, far from home in Ireland, visiting her sister Beaty, in London, England, dreaming of Mr. Right, to 1932 when she meets Christian in Canada. Flashing back and forth from 1932 to 1946 when Christian travels across the ocean determined to find Gilly-- He longs for answers, to know she is happy. Why did she leave? So much has happened through these years apart. They are different people. His long lost love, after fourteen years, including a Depression and a World War, he is desperate to find her. Why did she leave? Possibly a second chance? When they finally meet again, could it be too late to recapture their lost time, or will there bond be even stronger? There was a reason she left but she could not tell Christian, she wanted to protect him; which becomes a mystery throughout the book and only unveiled toward the end, as all the pieces of puzzle come together. A poignant love story of not only the romance between of Christian and Gilly; expanding to the magnetic friendship between mentor Gillian and young Shashi from afar through powerful letters and words of the heart —two women from vastly different cultures appreciating similar interests; and the loving close family relationship between Gilly and her granddaughter. Inspired by the author’s own grandmother’s handwritten writings and gift of poems, given to her similar to the fictional account of the novel, for a captivating, and bittersweet story. You will find yourself bookmarking numerous pages; from the charming keepsakes, telegrams, beautiful poems, and letters, reminiscent of a simpler time. Would encourage readers to view the Book Trailer -nicely done, a great intro to this spellbinding tale. A cross between authors, Kate Morton, Nicholas Sparks, Jo Jo Moyes, and Kristin Hannah. Fans of historical, literary, romance, suspense, mystery, and women’s fiction are assured to fall in love with this special story and characters you will not soon forget.
An exceptional debut! One of the best historical fiction and romance novels of the year, and predict a "bestseller". Looking forward to more from this exciting newfound author, Susan Ornbratt.
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“She could feel her chest rise suddenly, unsure of the moments to follow. Knowing she wanted to be kissed but knowing it was madness to fall for a man from her past, the one man she could never erase from her heart… the same conflict she’d fought under the Georgian Bay moon.”

susan ornbratt

About the Author

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. Visit Susan: Website






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