The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran

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The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Four women have been friends for over forty years and they think that they know each other well - but their sixties will be particularly testing times for all of them. Maeve Haran catches what it's like to be sixty particularly well.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 532 Date: June 2014
Publisher: Pan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447253891

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The four women had been friends for over forty years. Claudia, Ella, Laura and Sal had met at university and they know each other well - or think they do. They - like me - are what I call 'upper middle aged' - those people who are technically old, but not yet prepared to accept it. They'd gone their separate ways in life but still lived close enough to meet up each month for drinks and to catch up with what was happening. To the women it was one of their strongest relationships - although some of their families thought of the group as 'the coven'.

Sal had always been the career woman and had devoted her life to being a magazine editor. She'd had a few relationships but had never married. Her spending had been, er, free so when first losing her job and then a further major problem hit she had nothing to fall back on. Life looked very bleak. There was a bombshell for Laura too. She and Simon had been married for twenty five years and it was on their silver wedding anniversary that he told her he was leaving her for a younger woman.

Ella's marriage had ended too, but her husband had been killed in a train crash just a few years before. She'd clung on to their house because of the memories but one of her daughters and her husband were pressing her to downsize and make some distributions to avoid inheritance tax. That sounds so much better than just wanting a handout, doesn't it? Claudia was a teacher but was finding herself increasingly sidelined by younger colleagues who were, of course, so much more in tune with modern technology. Her husband, Don, was keen to move to the country and this could help with the problem of Claudia's aging parents. Claudia's not keen - the 'country' sends shivers down her spine - but will it suit Don either?

It took me a little while to get into the story and to begin with I did wonder if it was goig to be a little on the long side at over five hundred pages, but Maeve Haran has such a wonderful grasp of what it's like to be in this age group that I couldn't put it down. I've lost count of the number of times that I've been told that 'sixty is the new forty', but I don't know who it's fooling. The body isn't what it was - but Haran has some wonderful words of wisdom about forgetfulness and even night-time visits to the loo and sex. She catches too the pressure from younger generations - the subtle (or not-so-subtle) comments about their parents being the generation who are monopolising the property market and who had it easy so far as jobs were concerned. If you're in the age group then you'll be nodding your head wisely - if you're not, then it's a perfect snapshot. A darned-good read.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. If this book appeals then we think that you might also enjoy Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase by Louise Walters and The Memory Book by Rowan Coleman.

Buy The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran at

Buy The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran at


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