From the Publisher
"A poignant portrait of a stale marriage and the ties that bind couples together."Chicklit Club"
[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 must read."AARP
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.
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
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.