Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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 â??sex' back into â??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
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.
About the Author
Hilary Boyd’s THURSDAYS IN THE PARK chronicles the romance between two sixty-something grandparents who feel anything but old and are lonely for very different reasons. But with its theme of how to balance love, familial duty, and spousal commitment, the novel strikes a chord with people of all ages.
1. One of the most compelling aspects of Thursdays in the Park is its dialogue. Looking back through the novel, what is it about the dialogue that's so poignant? In what ways does it develop each character’s motivations and idiosyncrasies? Provide specific examples.
2. Discuss the specific tone and quality of Jeanie’s voice. How would you describe her personality? How does her personality help her or hinder her as she faces various hurdles throughout the book?
3. Jeanie is a woman struggling with being a grandmother in the youth-obsessed twenty-first century. What challenges does her particular position in society present to her, and how does she overcome them?
4. In what ways does Jeanie’s relationship with George affect her relationship with her daughter? And how does her relationship with Chanty inform the decisions Jeanie makes as her marriage begins to unravel?
5. What are the main themes and issues of the book, and how are they developed throughout the novel? How do the secondary characters, like Jeanie’s best friend Rita, illustrate some of these themes?
6. Is it accurate to say that love later in life is rarely discussed in today’s society? Why is it important (or not) that Boyd shines a light on this topic?
7. How does Jeanie’s relationship with her son-in-law Alex evolve over the course of the book? Does the development of this relationship parallel any of the changes in Jeanie’s marriage to George? If so, in what ways?
8. How does Thursdays in the Park compare to other contemporary romance novels? To what degree does it echo and reinforce certain narrative traditions you’ve come to expect from this genre, and in what ways does it depart from or redefine those traditions?