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The Lavender House

Author: Hilary Boyd
Published: 4 August 2016
Reviewed: 19 August 2016

3.5 out of 5 stars
Copy supplied by Quercus Books in return for an honest review as part of Quercus Summer Reading Book Club

 

Description:

Nancy de Freitas is the glue that holds her family together. Caught between her ageing, ailing mother Frances, and her struggling daughter Louise, 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. Smoker, drinker, unsuccessful country singer and wearer of cowboy boots, he should be completely unsuited to the very together Nancy. And yet, there is a real spark.
But Nancy’s family don’t trust Jim one bit. They’re convinced he’ll break her heart, maybe run off with her money – he certainly distracts her from her family responsibilities.

Can she be brave enough to follow her heart? Or will she remain glued to her family’s side and walk away from one last chance for love?

My Thoughts & Review:

Lavender House is the final instalment of the Quercus Summer Reads and what a great way to round off a summer of reading.

Having not read any of Boyd’s previous books I had no idea what to expect with this one, for some reason I never seemed to pick up her books when looking for something new to read.

I did struggle slightly with this book, perhaps it was because the protagonist was many years ahead of me in age so I found it difficult to relate to her, or perhaps because I’ve not been in the same situation.

Nancy is left heartbroken and devastated when her husband leaves her for a younger woman.  Thinking she will never find love again she becomes caretaker of her family, looking after her mother, helping her daughter and babysitting her granddaughters become her main focusses in life.  When she meets Jim at a friend’s party, she feels a spark of something she’d long forgotten.

Nancy was a hard character for me to connect with, I desperately wanted her to build her confidence, tell her family to let her make her own decisions and decide where things were going with Jim, but I guess when a person has been so used to putting others before herself it will be hard, near impossible to change overnight.  Jim was an interesting character, coming across as warm and charming but despite that Nancy’s family viewed him as the representation of everything wrong for her.

I read somewhere that Boyd has carved out a niche for ‘love between the older generations’ and I would definitely agree with this, however there are themes in this book that are universal to all age groups – family, love, loyalty, financial constraints and dealing with older parents (perhaps I will take note for future use with my mother!).

The plot moved along well, more of a cosy read than a page turner for me, but it was still an alright read.  Maybe not a book I would pick up myself, but one I might buy for my mother or grandmother.

 

About the Author

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Author information courtesy of wikipedia, image courtesy of Twitter

Hilary Boyd trained as a nurse at Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, and subsequently as a marriage guidance counsellor with Relate before reading English Literature at London University.  After college, Boyd became a health journalist, writing about depression, step-parenting and pregnancy. She began writing fiction as a hobby whilst raising three children and working at various day jobs including running a cancer charity, Survive Cancer, working for an engineering company, and an online vitamin site.  She published six non-fiction books on health-related subjects before turning to fiction and writing a string of bestsellers, starting with Thursdays in the Park.  Hilary is married to film director/producer Don Boyd.

To find out more about Hilary’s books follow her on Twitter @HilaryBoyd

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