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Monday, 19 August 2013

Hilary Boyd - Thursdays in the Park

Reviewed live on the bookshow by Ro Bennett on 15th August 2013.
I got this book because Linda’s mother-in-law said it was a good read - and I heartily agree with her recommendation . 
This is the official synopsis:
What do you do if you've been married to a man for half your life and out of nowhere he leaves your bed - permanently?
When this happens to Jeanie, she's furious and determined to confront George, her husband of thirty years. Is he in love with someone else? What did she do wrong? He won't tell her.
The brightest day of her week is Thursday, the day Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray, kind, easy to talk to, and gorgeous - he is everything George isn't.
But does she have the courage, while facing opposition from all sides, to turn her life upside down for another shot at love?
I’m not into romance or Mills and Boon type books, so I was a bit dubious about reading this from the synopsis, but at 99p I thought I would give it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised. There were 1,395 reviewers who gave the book 5 stars and 966 four stars- so there are a lot of people who enjoyed the story though 57 were less impressed and gave it one star.
I found it a gentle, page turning story about Jeanie who is approaching her sixtieth birthday. She lives with her husband George and has a daughter who is married to an artist, and a grand daughter, Ellie, who she adores. She also enjoys running a successful health food shop. Jeanie and George bumble along in their marriage. There is no intimacy in their relationship and George is controlling, but they have settled into a rut and are relatively comfortable They have no financial worries.  

One day, whilst taking Ellie to the park Jeanie meets Ray who is there with his grandson Dylan. Gradually she and Ray grow closer and their mutual attraction becomes evident. 

Meanwhile, George decides he wants to sell the family home and move to a small village in the country. Jeanie is quite happy to have a holiday home in the country but does not want to move there completely. She doesn’t want to live so far from Ellie, neither does she want to give up running her shop. 
George appears oblivious or deliberately ignores Jeanie’s objections and continues to put his plan into motion.

The story takes us through a series of family crises, tricky family dynamics and the lead up to and repercussions of Jeanie’s eventual affair with Ray. In due course the reason why George suddenly left the marital bed is revealed and that results in another roller coaster of emotions, difficult decisions and unforeseen implications for those involved - and the reader. 

I found the book funny and touching, with unexpected twists and turns and  enough action to keep me reading. The characters were well drawn. I had empathy with them and wanted to see a happy resolution to the situations they found themselves in.  A relaxing, enjoyable and easy read so a definite thumbs up from me.

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