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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 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 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 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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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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on 20 November 2012
I found it hard to believe the love story between the main character (forgotten her name already!) and Ray, as it seemed to happen out of nowhere, with no real build up of how they got to know each other -it just all felt very rushed! I also found that I didn't care about her enough, so was just rushing through the book to finish it. Most of the characters were very cliche with no real depth to them, and there were no surprises in the plot as it was all very predictable. Overall this was disappointing, and i just wanted it to end so that I could read something else!
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