Hilary Boyd became an author after a life of eclectic careers as a nurse, marriage guidance counselor, charity manager and student of English Literature. Her first novel, Thursdays in the Park, was published in 2011 when she was 62 and she joins us to discuss her seventh, The Lavender House.
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.
Jeanie is on the brink of turning 60, 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.
Nancy de Freitas is the glue that holds her family together. Caught between her ageing, ailing mother, Frances, and her struggling daughter, Louise, a frequent user of Nancy's babysitting services, it seems Nancy's fate is to quietly go on shouldering the burden of responsibility for all four generations. Her divorce four years ago put paid to any thoughts of a partner to share her later years with. Now it looks like her family is all she has. Then she meets Jim.
Annie Delancey is happily married, in her early 50s, with three grown children. But Annie guards a secret. At age 19 she had a baby boy and gave him up for adoption. She still thinks of him every day. One day she receives a letter from Kent Social Services; her son, Daniel, wants to make contact. A part of her is overjoyed - she longs to meet him. But another part fears what this revelation will do to her family, none of who know about her past.
When pillar-of-the-community Harry Stewart dies of a sudden heart attack, the whole village is devastated - except for his maligned wife, Karen, the only one who really knew the abusive alcoholic Harry had become. Suddenly freed from this oppressive marriage, Karen is nonetheless wracked with guilt about her final argument with her husband and sees the presence of her spoiled stepdaughter, Sophia, as a suitable purgatory. Her only comfort in her grief and isolation is William, the sympathetic local vicar.
Lawrence and Jo have enjoyed a strong marriage, the envy of their friends. Even after 30 years they have lots to say to each other, many interests in common, and, until recently, a good sex life. But Lawrence seems wary and restless. Something's wrong. Just how wrong, Jo is about to discover... Can they use their years of history - all the things they've shared - to overcome a devastating betrayal?
For eight years Flora's love affair with Fin was a whirlwind of fun and spontaneity - but when Flora wanted to settle down and have children, Fin vanished. Life moved on and Flora's world filled with other people, other cares. There were benefits to being single - no socks under the bed, no mess in the bathroom - even if the memory of Fin could never be completely erased. But then suddenly, shockingly, Fin reappears. He's a changed man, he says, and her wants her back. Is this a chance to put right the wrongs? Or a massive mistake?
Annie Delancey is happily married with three grown children. But she guards a secret. Aged eighteen she had a baby boy, and gave him up for adoption. Out of the blue, she receives an official-looking letter from Social Services. Herson wants to make contact. As the son she has never known comes back into her life, his presence begins to expose the cracks in the family that Annie now has to try, desperately, to hold together.