It’s definitely worth trying to grab hold of Letting Go

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing, according to the old song (and film).

And it most definitely is in Letting Go: A Timeline of Tales, by Gerda Stevenson.

The Twelve Stories in Letting Go take us on a journey through landscape, language and turbulent times, from the mid-19th century to the present day, and into the future.

The author has a real sense of creating likeable characters, in situations which we can relate to, which is the core of any good story. You want to feel something in common with the protagonists, to feel an emotional connection, which makes you want them to spend time with them.

Here, Gerda’s array of characters from many walks of life and nationalities – including a traveller, a wood carver, chicken farm workers, a nurse, an architect and a magician – meet and part, some becoming reacquainted.

But do’t expect this to be a straight-forward case of Mills & Boon-style romance. There’s a complexity throughout each story, as themes exploring identity, creativity and the environment, echo and connect throughout the different narratives, sometimes carried in snatches of song.

We travel across the country, as Gerda starts in her native Scottish Borders and heads up to Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Gaeltacht, the south of England, across the Atlantic to Apartheid South Africa and, finally, to the melting Arctic.

Written in Scots and English, and in some cases, in the first person, it’s an entertaining read, with the stories short enough to read in one sitting, put the book back down, and then pick up and continue. Short and sweet!

Letting Go: A Timeline of Tales, by Gerda Stevenson, published by Luath Press, £8.99.

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