Thursdays in the Park

Thursdays in the Park

3.9 37
by Hilary Boyd

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Called "a warm and well-written case for love affairs in later life" (Daily Telegraph), Thursdays in the Park was a runaway best-seller in the united Kingdom. Boyd's debut novel is a touching, romantic tale of new attraction and old loyalties. Jeanie is on the brink of turning sixty, and the man she's been married to for more than half of her life has

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Called "a warm and well-written case for love affairs in later life" (Daily Telegraph), Thursdays in the Park was a runaway best-seller in the united Kingdom. Boyd's debut novel is a touching, romantic tale of new attraction and old loyalties. Jeanie is on the brink of turning sixty, and the man she's been married to for more than half of her life has suddenly abandoned the marital bed. When Jeanie's husband George retreats from his conjugal duties, she is deeply hurt and very confused: Has she done something wrong? Is he in love with someone else? Her pained bewilderment turns to anger as he remains unable, or unwilling, to provide answers. The bright spot of Jeanie's week is Thursday, the day she takes her granddaughter to the park. There, one day, she meets Ray—age-appropriate, kind-hearted, easygoing, and downright sexy. In short, he is everything that George is not. As her relationship with Ray begins to blossom and she begins to think that her life might hold in store a bold second act, she begins to wonder if she has the courage to take a step off the precipice of routine and duty and into the swirling winds of romance.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As it shot to the top of the Amazon ebook charts in Britain, Boyd's debut novel was labeled by the UK press as the start of a new genre of "granny lit." At its most basic level, this book is about a marriage and whether it can survive when the sexual attraction has died. Jeanie and George haven't had sex in ten years, and George seems to be fine with that fact. Jeanie is not. At first she was hurt and angered by George's rejection, but after a decade she's become resigned. She now runs a successful organic foods business and adores spending time with her two-year-old granddaughter at the park, where she meets Ray, who's there with his own grandson. As Jeanie and Ray get to know each other, the mutual attraction is more than obvious. But Jeanie is torn. How do you end a 30-year marriage, even one that only has residual affection left? Jeanie grapples with her feelings for Ray and with the pain that their relationship will cause. VERDICT Whether it's the start of a new genre or not, this is a mostly successful exploration of second chances and love at any age. Jeanie and Ray's romance is nicely done, but the narrative does bog down within Jeanie's indecision, which, while realistic, becomes a bit repetitive. Readers of Barbara Delinsky and Jeanne Ray will be charmed.—Jane Jorgenson, Madison P.L., WI
From the Publisher
"A must read."—AARP"

[A]... tender and intriguing love story.... Boyd is as canny as Joanna Trollope at observing family life and better than Trollope at jokes."—The Daily Mail"

Puts the -sex' back into -sexagenarian."—The Times"

Beautifully written . . .The characters are like your sister or best friend. You can relate to them and feel everything just like you are right there in the story. . . (Hilary Boyd) completely wraps you in. This book is a must read for women of any age."—Two Classy Chics"

A warm and well-written case for love affairs in later life."—Daily Telegraph"

A sincere tale of late-in-life love.... Boyd's delicate rendering of Jeanie's interior grounds the novel, and readers will root for her to finally get her own.... A poignant love story featuring refreshing characters in their 60s."—Kirkus Reviews"

A poignant portrait of a stale marriage and the ties that bind couples together."—Chicklit Club

Kirkus Reviews
A sincere tale of late-in-life love. The book, first published in 2011, was a best-seller in the U.K. The year Jeanie turns 60 marks a decade since her reliable but controlling husband, George, started sleeping in a separate room and refused to tell her why. Adrift in a marriage that is now more comfortable routine than partnership, she focuses instead on the health foods store she owns, outings with her frank friend Rita and play dates with her granddaughter Ellie, whom she takes to the park on Thursdays. It's there that Jeanie and Ellie meet Ray and his grandson Dylan. While the kids play, the adults feel an immediate connection, unlike what Jeanie has felt before. Soon, they are sharing life stories--each including the heartbreaking loss of a loved one--and enjoying a clandestine, burgeoning romance. When her husband decides, against Jeanie's firm protestations, that they will move to a house in the country and that she should retire and sell her store, the choice, to readers, will seem obvious. But how can Jeanie end 32 years of mostly happy marriage? Who would care for George? And though her daughter, Chanty, is no more supportive of Jeanie's desire to keep living and working in the city, Jeanie is loath to disrupt Chanty's (and Ellie's) life with such a thing as divorce. Even Rita, who initially encourages a full-fledged affair, citing the improvement in Jeanie's life since meeting Ray, cautions her against abandoning a stable marriage. When none of these prove reason enough to ignore potential happiness with Ray, a revelation takes the decision out of Jeanie's hands, at least for a while. A subplot involving Chanty and her surly artist husband is the least subtle of the obstacles facing Jeanie and Ray, but it adds good dramatic spice and satisfyingly prolongs the outcome. Boyd's delicate rendering of Jeanie's interior grounds the novel, and readers will root for her to finally get her own. A poignant love story featuring refreshing characters in their 60s.

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Read an Excerpt

George did not reply, just stood there. “I mean . . .” He spoke like a drowning man refusing rescue. “I can’t do it anymore.”

“Can’t do what? George?”

He turned away from her, picking his glasses up from the bedside table as he made for the door.
Jeanie jumped up and raced after him. “Where are you going? George? You can’t just leave me like that. Is it something I’ve done? Please . . . tell me.”
But George shook her off, barely glancing at her. “I’ll sleep in the spare room.”

I can’t do it anymore. His words haunted her as she lay alone in the crumpled bed, shocked and above all, bewildered. Their life together, twenty-two years of it now, was orderly, you might even say a little dull. They never argued, as long as Jeanie accepted George’s benign need to control her. Then tonight it felt as if she had been unwittingly perched on top of a volcano that had suddenly decided to erupt. What had got into her husband?

In the morning, George behaved as if nothing had happened.


Jeanie stood naked in front of the bathroom mirror and looked hard at her body. She tried to imagine showing it, herself, to Ray, but the cold strip of lighting seemed to mock her. It wasn’t that her body embarrassed her. The pad of postmenopausal fat on her stomach drove her crazy but refused to budge, her small breasts were definitely bigger since the hormone shift, but she was still slim and fit. Unlike some of her friends, she’d never considered hormone replacement therapy. She thought it was a sort of vanity if you weren’t actually tormented with hot flashes,, which she hadn’t been. But would she look better now, younger, if she were taking hormones? She scrutinized her face. It was a little lined, but she had good skin; strong, slightly fierce blue eyes; and her dark auburn hair, through helped by the bottle, was shiny and well cut to her chin. No, the problem was that her sexuality seemed to have vanished. Here was a woman in the mirror who could be proud of a body, but that was all it seemed to be now—just a body.

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Thursdays in the Park 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 37 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Written to best relate to the 60+ reader, this story can serve to give younger readers food for thought with all of the questions about love and relationships that Hilary Boyd poses with her character Jeanie.  Thirty years married to her husband George, their lack of intimacy is a subject not touched upon: instead Jeanie fills her life with children, friends and grandchildren, and her weekly outing to the park on Thursdays.   The regular weekly outing is mirrored by Ray and his grandson, and the two take steps as they  get to know one another.  Where George is close mouthed and ignores her, Ray listens, is charming and appears to be in touch with his emotions.   Jeanie finds herself examining her life: was the right one the one she had built a life and family with, or the one who made her feel wanted, desired and heard?  What emerges is a softly growing romance, with a journey of searching on Jeanie’s part: wondering just how her life might have been different, or might be if she were bolder.  Solidly comfortable with a sense of the middle class white picket fence families, this story resonates with readers of all ages.  Familiar refrains of thoughts of ‘what if’ or ‘what may have been’ and beautifully wrought prose make this a comfortable and enjoyable read for a quiet afternoon.  I received an eBook copy from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the story line, the characters and the ending! It's so refreshing to read a book with realistic people in this age group (50+) when most romance stories are all about the 20-somethings and their rich boyfriends!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Manipulation personafied. It is hard to realize it in long term marriages. When one does resist, they are made to think it is their fault. One person calls all the shots, therefore has all the power. Like being caught in quicksand. Before you know lt ,it is too late to do anything about it. I have seen it countless times throughout my life. Every women should read this story. Maggie
Skybird1941 More than 1 year ago
I really, really enjoyed reading this book. It's relevant in today's world, where people of a certain age are not considered old or seniors and are still emotional, sexual and loving people. The relationships in this book are very easy to relate to and I also enjoyed the ending. I highly recommend this book.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Having the courage to allow yourself to fall in love is a marvelous experience at any age. Reading the struggles and triumps of Jeanie keeps hope alive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this honest look at life, marriage and family with a twist of love and new beginnings. For the posituve realists out there, you will enjoy this delightful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
STORY HAS 233 PGS.I'm trying to get in the habit,asking others to jot down#of well in theirR&R.Thank you.This story is one that would be nice to curl up with on a lazy,raining week-end. I can't figure out if it's age or the length of years you've been with someone when things can start getting"A LITTLE TOO COMFORTABLE WITH EACH OTHER"Anyway this story was maybe abit of a wake up call for me.My lesson from this book is that feeling of contentment,don't get me wrong,that's a great feeling,some never experience it.I have and I am but never take it for granted.If it's not broke don't try and fix it.It doesn't hurt though to spice it up abit and it doesn't always have to be sexual.Example:Week-end before,SUPER BOWL,my husband is 61 and we've been married for16yrs.I didn't even know what teams were playing,called my son(PATRIOTS&SEAHAWKS)Mind you my husband had NEVER been to a SuperBowl party!!He had to go into work that Sunday.After talking to my son,ran to a couple of stores and WALA my husband walked into a big pot of chili on the stove decorations everywhere(son said I'd never find neon green) WRONG!!Can't say he's never been to a SUPER BOWL PARTY again. Make sure you all read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This takes place in England. What I loved about this book is that it was a story middle aged women could relate tono matter what country you live in. I couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really got into this book. So down to earth. Can't tell you how it relates to so many women. She stood up to what her own needs and wants were. So many of us feel we have to "obey and serve" our husbands and others and, completely forget about ourselves. To have someone always call you Old Girl when you are a young 60, that deflates your self-ego, and makes you want to just scream! And to find love at that age is wonderful. We are wives, not their mothers! Are there any more books by Ms Boyd? Want to read all of them if they are as good as Thursdays in the Park. A must read for every woman! Couldn't put it down until all was read>
Suz26 More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot.
macleaves More than 1 year ago
Very sweet book, a little slow in spots but still a worthy read. Book has to do with "mature" love, loss, change and the effects of all these themes on a family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
must read if you believe in heavenly encounters or have had such an experience, which I have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the English dialog.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Found it a slow read and a little bit far fetched.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book. The author put it together perfectly. Very heart warming, decisions to make. You can love someone but not be in love with them. Well worth reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of the best books that I have read in a long time. I like that is a couple in sixties as that is my age .Also, that it is set in London. I enjoy books that are set in London, Ireland or Scotland for a change. It reminds of Rosemunde Pltcher or Maeve .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book.jeaniedid not try to start an affair it just happens.the story was really good for a little older group of people .at times happy other times sad ,a book I really didn't want to was well written and you could relate to the story.Carol
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
virginia2 More than 1 year ago
loved it