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on 5 August 2011
I found it very hard to put this book down in order to go out to dinner! It is about two older people who meet and fall in love and all the attendant problems they encounter with families. Very well written and entertaining
It made me laugh and cry and I totally enjoyed it! I really recommend it!
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Jeanie is nearly sixty. Her husband, George, has suddenly decided he wants to move to the country but Jeanie wants to stay in London and continue running her successful health food shop. Their marriage isn't all it might be and George likes to control everything Jeanie does. One Thursday afternoon she meets Ray in the park where he is supervising his grandson, Dylan, on the swings and slides while Jeanie supervises her granddaughter, Ellie. They get on well and Jeanie starts to question the whole basis of her life especially as her family insist on knowing what's best for her.

I really enjoyed this book especially because it features older people rather than perfectly groomed and stick thin twenty somethings agonising over a bad hair day. I liked Jeanie herself and could understand her frustration when everyone tried to tell her what was best for. Ray is an interesting character too. I thought the contrasts between the Jeanie and George and their daughter Jeanie and her husband Alex were very well drawn and showed well the different concerns of the different generations.

I thought the plot was good as it wasn't just a simple case of meeting someone else and deciding to break up your family. It really did show how life goes on while an individual is experiencing a crisis and how one person's life changing decision can affect many other people. I liked the way all the characters were changed by the end of the book. The dialogue was very well done and convincing and this is a book which kept me reading because I wanted everything to work out well for all the characters. Hilary Boyd is definitely a writer to look out for if you enjoy novels about older people.
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on 18 September 2011
Having seen this novel recommended twice in the same edition of the Sunday Times,I ordered it.It's a story of a 60 year old woman with a difficult long marriage.When she meets someone she's attracted to,she's torn.Although this sounds fairly stereotypical,the writing is warm,convincing and unembellished.It's a lovely read on a quiet day.
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on 20 November 2011
There is little I can add by way of plaudits for this book which I have enjoyed enormously, even though that seems a rather odd thing to say considering it's about the break up of a long marriage. But it's eloquently written and with wry humour, and if I had been married to a George for more than 30 years and met a gorgeous Ray, then I'd have been in the park every day!

By coincidence, there was a feature on this morning's Breakfast TV programme, about how 60-somethings, especially the women, are the largest age group filing for divorce. Perhaps once retired and without the diversion of work some women (and men, of course) suddenly realize that the partner they have been with, and had children with, for decades really aren't the the people they wish to spend the rest of their lives with.

Fortunately, I don't fall into this camp, but that didn't prevent me from empathizing with the heroine of this lovely novel and her break for freedom.
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on 22 May 2012
One of those books that I found myself liking despite myself. Difficult, if not impossible, to discuss why without the possibility of including a fairly big spoiler, lets just say that whilst I didn't like the actions of some of the characters, I did quite like them as individuals.

Funny, moving and with a few twists and turns added for good measure, Thursdays In The Park is a love story in which (hurrah) the 'Romeo and Juliet' of the piece are not beautiful young things but ........ (gasp) grandparents in their 60's.

Very well observed, the author tells a truly modern story of family life (certain aspects of which I'm sure will seem all too familiar to many grandparents), friendship and love.

My only criticism? The reason why George leaves the marital bed when eventually revealed though unexpected just didn't ring completely true and I felt that given the nature of the reason the author didn't really explore that aspect of the novel as much as I would have liked ...... though then again, to do so would have completely changed the tone of the book so perhaps she was right to have made that decision.
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on 15 August 2011
A new Mary Wesley for the 21st century has just published her first novel at the respectable age of sixty something.

Thursdays in the Park is a perfectly pitched, fast moving,hugely funny, black comedy and OAP baby boomer romance,
with just a hint of granny bodice-ripper.

The opening chapter is quiet and understated, belying the fun and interest that soon follows. The plot is perfectly
crafted and its twists and turns, together with Hilary Boyd's mischievous sense of humour and close human
observation, steer it firmly away from sentimentality, or what could easily have been just Hills and Boon, into a
delightful tale of the idiosyncrasies and insanities of family life, which keeps you guessing till the last page.

Cliched though it sounds, this book is a real laugh-out-loud page-turner. Brilliant holiday reading.

I look forward to the next Hilary Boyd!
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on 15 August 2011
I agree with Jude. This book is full of delicious details that really bring the characters and North London itself to life. I expected to be charmed and moved, but I was surprised to find myself on the edge of my seat as the plot twists unfolded - I gasped out loud several times. And although you encounter some dislikable people for sure, the book is also full of kindness and empathy. And who doesn't need a little of that!
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on 23 November 2011
I love this book! It's a very simple story of girl meets boy but this girl is nearly 60 and married and the boy is a similar age. Beautifully written, an enjoyable story of the ups and downs of love. I read late into the night, one of those 'can't put down' books. Heartwarming and very real. More from Hilary Boyd please!
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on 27 November 2012
I wanted to like this book. I really did, being the same age as the protagonists. I don't know what other reviewers have been reading because I can't recognise this book in much that's been said about it. What erotic elements? It was so tedious. When it does get a bit exciting - how will George find out she's having an affair? - it improved, although it was difficult to care. The mystery of George's behaviour, a classic question running through the book, was resolved with very little dramatic impact and no clues hitherto as to why he did what he did. OK, so we are then told the explanation for the inciting incident (emphasis on 'told' and everybody knows you 'show, don't tell')- but, again, care very little. This will be improved when they make the film because the idea behind the book is interesting and fairly new. On the mechanics of the writing, why are there so many run-on sentences? Does no-one know how to punctuate any more? 'Could do better.'
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on 19 November 2012
While I applaud the relative novelty of an older heroine this book is very much a 'curate's egg'. The characters are a bit flat as is the dialogue with the glorious exception of Ellie ~ I am sure Boyd is a wonderful grandmother since the child characters are the most vivid. Jeanie is so privileged that it is hard to be too sympathetic ~leaving her husband won't hit her too hard with a nice flat and business of her own. Not sure plausible to have abusive childhoods as the justification for three of the characters flaws ~ all a bit simplistic when not satisfactorily dealt with. Really this is a promising first draft that needs a bit of reworking and a lot af polishing. If you want to read something with really vivid and well drawn older characters try Deborah Moggach and These foolish things (Marigold Hotel film was based on it).
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