When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd

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When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd

Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: Nurse Flora suffered emotionally when Fin walked out. Should she take him back two years later when he suddenly reappears? Her head says no, but her body says yes in this page-turner of a novel.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 426 Date: October 2013
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
ISBN: 978-1782060932

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Hilary Boyd wrote best-selling 'Thursdays in the Park', which I enjoyed immensely, so I was delighted to be given the opportunity to read her latest novel. With the stalwarts of a white-coat hospital romance as the major characters, and a sub-plot involving a dying old lady and her money-grabbing nephew, there's plenty to hook lovers of an easy-read romantic novel. Hilary Boyd writes straightforwardly, and the story flies across the pages.

Flora has just emerged from the fall-out of her partner, Fin’s disappearance from their eight year relationship. Uncommitted and unreconstructed, Fin bolts for the mountains when Flora, nudging forty, shares her longing for a baby. Since then, Flora has survived a severe depression precipitated by his unexplained departure. She now works in London, nursing an old lady, and lives in the basement of the stylish house belonging to Prue, her over-protective sister.

Out of this unpromising scenario, step forward kitchen designer Jake, a younger and altogether more respectful species of male, and the protegee of Prue. He falls for Flora. As if one bird weren't enough, there's also the respectable, kind divorcee, Dr Simon Kent, who falls for Flora over the white head of their joint patient, Dorothea. With two birds in hand, re-enter Fin the sexy, older bad guy, just back from the mountains and wanting to kiss and make up for his previous dastardly behaviour. Ignoring the two more obviously sensible choices, Flora throws herself once again at Fin. You know immediately that it's all going to end in tears. Through the middle section of the novel, there’s considerable tension between Flora and the reader. Flora eventually realises the error of her ways in hanging out with a man who continually puts himself first. You can probably guess what happens next.

I'm sorry to sound a bit glib and waspish, but that's the story. Unfortunately, being unbelievable as well as predictable doesn’t work for me. I know I should be tolerant of escapist fiction … but there are limits to my credulity. How many of your stay-at-home girlfriends have a choice between three attractive, available and assorted males? When did you last hear of a GP in today's NHS putting in a night visit, working on a Sunday, or keeping an eye on a patient by visiting nearly every day, even if he does fancy the nurse?

I also think that it's an inherently difficult job for a new novelist to contain a Rhett Butler character and not have him unbalance the novel. Within a few pages we realise that Fin has far too many whinges and selfish attributes to be the romantic lead, (just as the author intends). Yet he dominates the novel with his sexuality. Neither Jake nor Simon have much colour as alternative heroes.

I can't praise 'Thursdays in the Park' highly enough, with its challenge to the media and public view of romance and sex as the province of younger women, and out of bounds for older women. The characters are grounded in family believability, and exploring generational relationships is a great strength of the novel.

This is like the moment when the lovely Nicole says sorrowfully: Honey, you know I’ve believed in you ever since your first audition, but really the song choice this week just wasn’t right for your voice … I think that Hilary Boyd’s voice has the X-Factor, but she needs to dig deeper and push the boundaries again with her next project.

Thank you to the publishers for sending this book.

We also liked Tangled Lives published a year ago, but for my money Thursdays in the Park takes some beating.

If you liked Hilary Boyd, you might also enjoy the very readable Lessons in Laughing Out Loud by Rowan Coleman and Two for Joy by Helen Chandler.

Buy When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When You Walked Back into My Life by Hilary Boyd at Amazon.com.


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