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4.2 out of 5 stars
3,658
4.2 out of 5 stars
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Price:£3.99


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I do bang on a bit (yes, honestly, I do!) about the relatively small number of books that focus on the lives, realities and concerns of the older reader. And every time I do, someone says “have you read Thursdays in the Park?”. I have no idea why it’s taken me so long, but yes, I finally have – and I really enjoyed it.

Let’s face it, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? (Or is it just me?!) Putting up with the not quite good enough, but lacking the impetus to do anything about it. That’s where Jeanie finds herself at the start of the story – in a marriage with a man who certainly has his own issues, undoubtedly loves her in his own way (and it’s a love that’s largely reciprocated) but who totally disregards her opinions and wishes on everything, even something as momentous as a total life change by moving to the country. Her daughter also thinks she can control her, and her obnoxious son-in-law is just a user. Her daily escape is the health food store she owns and runs, and her only other joy the time she spends with granddaughter Ellie on a Thursday afternoon and her tennis sessions with her supportive best friend. When she meets Ray and his grandson Dylan in the park, it might just give her the courage she needs to do something about her life. Instead of existing only as a grandmother, mother and wife, maybe she has an opportunity to become her own person again.

I know that not all reviewers have agreed – perhaps it depends on your personal perspective – but I thought the story was beautiful, and so well told. There’s a gentle humour throughout, and although the basic story is quite a simple one – with just a few added complications at times – the acute observation of people’s behaviour made it quite enchanting. The “love in later life” was well handled – Ray is gorgeous – and the whole book (which I read almost in a single sitting) filled with warmth and simply lovely in every way. The only little thing that jarred slightly at first was granddaughter Ellie’s “baby-speak’ – but the longer I lived with the characters, it seemed right, and I stopped noticing it. I’d thoroughly recommend this book to anyone of a similar age – in fact, I’d recommend it to younger readers too, as a reminder that being over 50 doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a chance at love and living again. I look forward to reading more from Hilary Boyd – and I still have absolutely no idea why it took me five years to discover her lovely book.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 October 2016
I own almost all of Hilary Boyd’s books but the newly reissued Thursdays in the Park is the first one I have read. The story inside is just as appealing as its beautiful new cover, and I spent a lovely afternoon reading this book with no intention of putting it down until I’d reached the end.

Jeanie and George have been married for thirty years, but George is hiding something. It’s the reason they haven’t slept in the same bed for a decade, but Jeanie has given up trying to work out why that is. The highlight of her week is spending time with her granddaughter Ellie. Every Thursday, they head to the park. And this is where Jeanie meets Ray…

I think it’s apparent almost right away that George is no good for Jeanie, at least not anymore, whereas Ray is kind, thoughtful, fun and exactly what Jeanie needs after over a decade of settling for a life which if she was honest, doesn’t do a lot for her. I really enjoyed this theme to the book. Jeanie, at sixty, is torn between these new feelings she has for Ray and her marriage to George, but throughout all the years before meeting Ray, she hasn’t really entertained the thought of leaving her husband and it is realistically put across that other people, her friends and family, would also think it strange for a woman of ‘her age’ to leave George. A new romantic chapter in her life seems an alien concept, but Jeanie is sixty, not dead, so why shouldn’t she hope for something more?

Thursdays in the Park is a gentle, romantic and immensely warm novel. The story is sweet but also very engaging and it was easy to become wrapped up in the newfound romance between Jeanie and Ray. I loved both characters. Jeanie was made easy to care for. I didn’t find it too surprising that she hadn’t demanded more answers from George over the years, as she seemed to want to avoid an argument at all costs. I could also understand how she was still with him, as it was not really the done thing to leave a marriage when you’re that age. However, mostly I wanted her to follow her heart, not her head, and bring an end to her marriage to George if she found that really, she wanted Ray instead…

There’s that big stereotypical belief that older people desire companionship, not romance, but I think why should anyone settle for second best when something better is right in front of them? And why can’t somebody have both the romance and the companionship? Jeanie’s character represents that people in their sixties can fall in love again. They may be judged for that, but throughout the course of the book I was rooting for Jeanie to finally be free from George and to let herself fall for somebody else.

Ray’s character was lovely, but also interesting. I was fascinated by the story of his previous relationship and loved how it was written. How, again, something frowned upon by many people is not always as immoral as it may seem. I may be in my twenties but I found both Jeanie and Ray wonderful characters to read about, and credit to the author’s style of writing which drew me in to the story straight away.

There were a couple of parts to this story that I didn’t like quite so much – like every time Ellie’s parents Chanty and Alex were involved. I couldn’t warm to them at all and I didn’t particularly enjoy reading about them, not because I didn’t like them, more because they were quite infuriating. Whereas George, who I also didn’t like, was still an interesting character to read about and also of course an integral part of the story. I also found that Jeanie and Ray’s romantic meets were my favourite part to the book and so probably preferred the beginning and middle of the book more than the back and forth ending.

However, overall I found Thursdays in the Park to be a touching and believable story about falling in love. The struggles in the romance are relatable for people of almost any age, as is the theme of living the life you want rather than the life society expects of you. This was an extremely heart-warming and entertaining novel and has me looking forward to tucking into some of the author’s other books in the near future.

(review copy)
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on 24 March 2014
Thursdays in the park.

I confess I only bought this because it was 20p & has been on my kindle for months as I didn't think it was my thing.
How wrong I was!

Thursdays in the park takes you behind the doors & into the relationship between George & Jeanie.

We watch as the couple approaching retirement view their world & role in society. We see the devastation of how gentle control & manipulation accepted by one individual from another can grow & spread until it becomes normal.

We watch as that unhealthy norm is seen by others as normal also & can be adopted in your children.

I was intrigued by how easily it was accepted without fight or anguish, ... until that is ... another way of life is shown through love.
And that's what this is about .. love... & being treated lovingly.

They say love is blind but in this case it's the opposite, here love is what opens the eyes & sees the dysfunction of the many forms of love & how they're packaged, used & abused, aided & abetted, accepted & owned.
We see also how secrets buried deep affect the ability to give love as well as receive it.

I'm not a romance reader & usually find novels along these lines tedious & petty, yawn yawn, where's the sick bag, but this gripped me & I felt for Jeanie. She's not a feeble pushover, she can see the issues, but manages them as part of life.

I loved that at 60 life can begin again & become beautiful for all involved & the author had made this a realistic scenario.
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on 8 February 2013
I couldn't decide whether to rate this generously at 4 stars, because I like the fact that the protagonist is female, 60ish and has a sex life and the guts to make huge changes in her life - not that I'm the first to make this point, but just to reiterate it. So, subject matter = excellent, worth more stars than three, for sure.

The writing is decent too, the pace pleasant, the characters believable, the episodes nicely ordered, and (yay!) mostly decently edited too.

It's just that, well, I found it all a bit so-so, and the main characters a bit boring, other than the appealing and interesting Ray. The story was, in the end, a bit predictable. Or was that really the point, that real life is a bit predictable? So can we mind when a story mirrors it? And was Ray's being sexy, different, a little bit risky, meant to stand out strongly against the rather more boring family he got into the middle of, which was the point of making them all a bit dull and the story a bit lacklustre? As for the son-in-law, sheesh! Other than that, I couldn't find myself getting very involved.

Hence, just three stars.
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on 6 April 2017
This book was so true to life, if we were all lucky enough to have a second chance on another romance, not necessarily sexual, but just the love and comfort.

Jeannie was surprised at how intense her feelings were, but I think bringing in the grandchildren was a subtle idea, as in the end it was them that brought the pair back together.
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on 21 November 2012
Nice easy read, and great price. I think this is the book that the newspapers are trying to sell as granny porn ( I may be incorrect), but I don't remember it as such at all!

Nice story well written, so congratulations and best wishes to the author. Although it's great for us readers the introductory price, I don't imagine it's that good for the writers, that said, the scale of sales if successful may make up for this, added to the fact that most of us when we find a good author will definitely seek out and pay for their next book..
I read it as a nice woman, dissatisfied with the life she has been living, getting a little older, but still busy and young, living with a man concerned with his own needs, for reasons we find out. Slowly the lady discovers the courage to stand up to her family who want her to grow old before her time, and carries on with her life, and ultimately makes a better one. Well that's my memory of it. A good read, which is the highest praise for any book, in my opinion of course
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on 6 February 2014
The park in question on which many of the scenes in this book are based are Waterlow Park in North London. A place where i spent much of my childhood playing with very fond memories.

The book itself is very well reviewed by the reviewer Damaskcat. Its a story about a much older heroine - Jeanie and how everyone including her horrid controlling husband George all seem to know whats best for her. A chance encounter with Ray in the park leads to love and a man who is better able to understand and support her.

A lovely book and it was a refreshing change reading about love between two maturer people instead of teens and young adults!

I will definitely be looking out for more books from Hilary after this book.
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on 13 December 2014
Couldn't put my kindle down, you soon got into everybody's lives and was thoroughly very well written. I can always tell if I am going to like a book if I get into it in the first few pages and this was one of those books.

I have just read 'Tangled Lives' which was excellent and I look forward to reading more from Hilary Boyd.

Go ahead, buy it now, you will not be disappointed.
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on 10 November 2016
A good story that's well written
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on 28 June 2017
Easy read. Good summer entertainment. A different angle on the possibility of romance. It's never too late to meet somebody.
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