Thursdays in the Park - Hilary Boyd (2011)

After 22 years of marriage, Jeanie's husband George suddenly ups and leaves the marital bed without explanation, moving into the spare room and ending any physical relationship between the couple. The next morning he continues as if nothing's happened and despite Jeanie's probing, he won't give her any answers. Ten years on, Jeanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage with a husband with whom she is becoming ever more disconnected. She finds solace in her business and the time she spends with her granddaughter on their trips to the local park and it is here that she first meets Ray, spending time with his grandson Dylan. Ray and Jeanie begin to chat and continue to develop their friendship with their Thursday trips to the park. At home, with Jeanie's 60th birthday approaching, George proposes to sell their house in London and move to the country, trying to convince Jeanie it's what she wants and that it's best for her, even convincing their daughter Chanty that it's right for them both. But Jeanie feels far from settling down into retirement and Ray is offering her the possibility to experience love again. Can she give up her loveless marriage to George for another chance at love with Ray? When George finally reveals the truth behind his estrangement from her bed, Jeanie finds herself having to rethink her options. Some of the issues in this novel are quite dark and difficult, and the book seems most suited to an older readership, but Hilary Boyd creates a poignant portrait of a stale marriage and the ties that bind couples together. (JC)

Hilary Boyd's Thursdays in the Park focuses on a woman facing marital problems and asks does love come with a use-by date. The synopsis says: "Jeanie has been a loving wife to George for over 30 years, a devoted mother to their daughter and, recently, an adoring grandmother - all this despite the fact that several years ago, George withdrew from their marital bed with no reason given. At first Jeanie was determined to confront him, but days rolled into weeks, then years, and still she has no idea why it happened. Did she do something wrong? Is he in love with someone else? George won't talk about it. Every Thursday, Jeanie takes her granddaughter to the park, and there she meets Ray, who performs the same weekly duty for his grandson. Ray seems to be everything George isn't - a listener, easy to talk to, open-minded - and sexy. Suddenly Jeanie feels attractive again and, against her will, finds herself falling in love with him. She knows all too well that her new passion threatens everything she holds dear. She must make a choice." Boyd has written several health non-fiction titles.

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