#aww2019 · 2019 Reviews · contemporary fiction · new release · romance · timeslip

Release Day Book Review: A Single Woman by Maggie Christensen

Title: A Single Womana single woman small

Author:  Maggie Christensen

Published: May 9th 2019

Publisher: Cala Publishing

Pages: 271

Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: 3.5 stars

Isla Cameron. headmistress at an elite girl’s school in Glasgow, is determinedly single, adroitly avoiding all attempts at matchmaking by a close friend.

Widower Alasdair MacLeod is grieving for the wife he lost two years earlier, struggling as the single father of two teenagers, and frustrated by the well-meaning interference of his in-laws.

When a proposed school trip to France brings Isla and Alasdair together, they find a connection in the discovery that each is suffering the loss of a loved one, but neither is interested in forming a relationship,

As their friendship grows, Alasdair struggles with his increasing attraction to the elegant schoolmistress, while Isla harbours concerns about the complications a relationship with him would bring.

Can Alasdair overcome his natural reserve, and can Isla open her heart to love again?

Review:

A Single Woman marks the eleventh novel from Australian author Maggie Christensen. A Single Woman is also the third issue in Maggie Christensen’s Scottish tales series. There are loose connections only to the previous two books in this series, so it is very easy to settle into this engaging new tale from the queen of mature age fiction, Maggie Christensen. With themes of overcoming grief and loss, opening up your heart to others and new starts, this second chance love story will be sure to appeal to many readers.

Isla Cameron is a self proclaimed single woman. The headmistress of a private school for girls in the Glasgow region, Isla is unwilling to commit to any form of a relationship, after being hurt in the past.  All attempts of trying to get Isla into the dating scene by her friends have fallen in heap. For grieving widower Alasdair MacLeod, the last two years have been an uphill battle, he has been consumed by the shock loss of his wife and mother of his two teenage children. Dating is the last thing on Alasdair’s mind, despite the attempts by those around him who care for him and would be happy to see him embrace a relationship again. A school trip to France proves to be the turning point for both Isla and Alasdair. They forge a connection, uniting in their grief and loss. However, each has serious reservations about entering a relationship again. Can these two lost souls overcome their grief and learn to love again?

A Single Woman proved to be a great catch up experience. It was nice reconnect with Maggie Christensen’s writing and characters. I know when I pick up a Maggie Christensen novel that I will be rewarded with a relatable and engaging storyline, along with realistic characters and a heart arming romance, injected with plenty of emotions.  

Maggie Christensen displays finesse in portraying older protagonists. In this new novel, the lead characters are in their forties, not too far away from my own age. This did mean that I was better able to connect to their lives and problems. There is a level of authenticity that goes with the situations and feelings faced by the characters in A Single Woman. I did appreciate the focus on Isla’s fear and anxiety over leaping into another relationship. Maggie Christensen outlines Isla’s  guarded nature, her privacy and her staunch attitude in remaining single. I have personally seen shades of this mindset in people I know, so it was good to see the author put this experience onto the pages of a novel.

There is a fine secondary character set that accompanies A Single Woman. This fleshes out the story even further and created another level of engagement for this reader. I enjoyed the sequences featuring Alasdair, the lead male protagonist’s daughter, Fi. I thought Fi added a significant amount of interaction to the story at hand. Likewise, it was a pleasure to revisit characters featured in the previous books. Overall, Isla and Alasdair run the show in A Single Woman and it is well worth following their individual paths, as well as their tentative steps towards embracing love.

The stunning backdrop of Glasgow in Scotland provides an excellent stage for the events of the novel to unfold. I know Maggie Christensen has drawn on her own personal experiences of living in Glasgow as student before she moved to Australia to form the setting of her novel. Consultation with family members and research on current day Glasgow has informed A Single Woman to ensure that this locale is spot on. I do love to hear about Scotland, a place I have longed to visit, so reading a novel set firmly in Scotland is the next best thing!

Both Isla and Alasdair, the lead protagonists of this novel, experience a great deal of personal growth in A Single Woman. I feel this personal development is at the heart of the novel, with a gentle side serving of romance. I was pleased overall with the way the book ended and I am confident the characters, situations and themes will resonate with a wide audience.

A Single Woman by Maggie Christensen was published on May 9th 2019 by Cala Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.

For more information on Maggie Christensen, check out her website here.

*I wish to thank the author, Maggie Christensen, for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

A Single Woman is book #61 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge

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