Thursdays in the Park Paperback
by Hilary Boyd
What do you do if you've been married to a man for half your life and out of nowhere he leaves your bed - permanently?
When this happens to Jeanie, she's furious and determined to confront George, her husband of thirty years.
Is he in love with someone else? What did she do wrong? He won't tell her. The brightest day of her week is Thursday, the day Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park.
There, one day, she meets Ray, kind, easy to talk to, and gorgeous - he is everything George isn't.
But does she have the courage, while facing opposition from all sides, to turn her life upside down for another shot at love?
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 432 pages
- Publisher: Quercus Publishing
- Publication Date: 30/08/2012
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780857385178
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Review by AdonisGuilfoyle
After choosing this novel because I like the name of the main character, Jeanie, I have mixed - but mostly positive - views. The premise of the story reminded me of the old BBC sitcom <i>Butterflies</i>, where suburban housewife Ria (Wendy Craig) meets a handsome man in the park, and embarks on an illicit relationship to relieve the boredom of her day to day life. Jeanie, married to boring George for thirty years, meets Ray in the park one Thursday afternoon, while the two of them are babysitting their respective grandchildren. So far, so familiar, and I was worried that the characters would be cliched, which they are slightly, or lack depth, but I really took to Jeanie, Ray and Jeanie's forthright friend Rita. Even George was more than just a cardboard-cutout bully, driving his wife into another man's arms. Yes, I may have mentally shouted, 'Oh, shut up, you weasly little man!', but I could understand his fears, and Jeanie's reluctance to hurt him.My only quibble, really, was with Hilary Boyd's constant recourse to child abuse when explaining or excusing her characters' motivations. Child abuse, mental abuse, accusations of abuse - the theme was a little overtaxed. Why can't people simply fall out of love, be hopeless at commitment, have relationship issues, without blaming someone else? Yes, abuse is real and damaging, but either deal with the subject properly or leave it alone. Also, the repercussions of one character's past trauma was glossed over far too quickly to be convincing - everything wraps up neatly in the final chapters.So, yes - I would class <i>Thursdays in the Park</i> as chick lit for readers of a certain age (and gender), I think. Believable characters, a troubled romance, and a satisfying if slightly rushed ending.