Thursday’s In The Park

Hilary Boyd
thursdays in the parkJeanie has been a loving wife to George for over thirty years, a devoted mother to their daughter and, recently, an adoring grandmother – all this despite the fact that several years ago, George withdrew from their marital bed with no reason given. At first Jeanie was determined to confront him, but days rolled into weeks, then years, and still she has no idea why it happened. Did she do something wrong? Is he in love with someone else? George won’t talk about it. Every Thursday, Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park, and there she meets Ray, who performs the same weekly duty for his grandson. Ray seems to be everything George isn’t – a listener, easy to talk to, open-minded – and sexy. Suddenly Jeanie feels attractive again and, against her will, finds herself falling in love with him. She knows all too well that her new passion threatens everything she holds dear. She must make a choice. Family ties, dramas, secrets and lies all weave their way though this beautiful and insightful first novel written by an author who has the perfect experience to write it.

This was another of those dirt cheap ebook buys that was so worth it. Jeanie has been married to George for years when for some reason he refuses to explain, he leaves her bed and sleeps in the spare room. Ten years on this is still the case. Jeanie just gets on with life and still cares for George but when a chance meeting with Ray in the park blossoms into friendship she begins to question many things in her life.

Jeanie runs a health food shop that she loves and is heading towards 60, which she doesn’t! George wants to move to the country for a new start, Jeanie doesn’t but no one is listening to her. Jeanie and George have a daughter, Chanty, and she and George both seem to think they know what is best for Jeanie. Jeanie is frustrated but not able to get them to take her views seriously. There is a lot going on in this story. It is certainly not a simple boy meets girl and girl leaves husband for new happy life tale! This is what made it so good. There is a lovely slow growing romance between Ray and Jeanie, brought together by their grandchildren in the park. But it comes with all the complexities of life. Jeanie cares for George, for her daughter and her family. She doesn’t want to hurt people. She is trying to work out what she wants and what she can actually have. She doubts her relationship with Ray too. Does he really love her? Is he in this for a quick fling? Although it is worth noting here that they actually don’t fall into bed with each other, Jeanie is faithful to George in many ways for a long time. Jeanie knows that although she has these feelings for Ray she has never felt before she has a lot to lose from her life if she acts on them.

I also enjoyed the very three dimensional characters in the book. Particularly as this is a romance involving an older person (Jeanie would hate me saying that!) all the characters have a ‘past’ and the influence on them is obviously huge! As their back stories come out we begin to understand them at a deeper level and get how they have become the way they are. It was also interesting to see how the effects of George’s history in particular plays out in the present as he finally faces things he has long not dealt with. The repercussions for everyone are far reaching. I can’t spoil it for you by explaining any more, you’ll have to read it. It really puts Jeanie’s happy ending in jeopardy, she is so torn between doing what she wants and what she feels is the right thing.

As well as the three main characters being fully rounded I also liked best friend Bea who adds humour and someone who wants Jeanie to out herself first! Chanty and her husband Alex were great characters too, their marriage has not been easy and Alex is a selfish man! It was good to have other characters in the novel who were having ups and downs and learning lessons as well as the main protagonists. It gave it more of a family saga feel too and definitely gives it a very well rounded appeal.

Verdict: I read this really quickly! It was a book I struggled to put down and anyone who likes romance with a twist and great characters will love this.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Quercus
Publication Date: August 2011
Format: eBook
Pages: 353
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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