Welcome to the first day of the blog tour – which also happens to be publication day! – for Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Boldwood Books for my digital review copy via NetGalley. Do check out the posts by my tour buddies for today, Sheri at My Reading Getaway and the team at Romance By The Book.
About the Book
Some people are just made for each other…
When seven-year-old Fran first met Will they knew instantly that they were made for each other. For eleven years they were inseparable, but then, at the age of eighteen, Will just upped and disappeared.
Twenty-five years later Will is back. Is fate trying to give them a second chance?
Still nursing the heart break from all those years ago, Fran is reluctant to give Will the time of day. The price Will must pay is to tell the truth – the truth about why he left, the truth about why he’s back…
And Fran has her own secrets to hide. The time has come to decide what Fran and Will really want from life – before it’s too late. ..
Format: Paperback (314 pages) Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication date: 19th January 2022 Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Find Before We Grow Old on Goodreads
When Fran and Will run into each other in a coffee shop after a gap of twenty-five years is it coincidence, fate or something else? Finding themselves both single again, albeit each now with parental responsibilities, they quickly resume their relationship, their attraction to each other being as intense as it was all those years ago.
However, a revelation from Will causes Fran to reappraise her relationship with him and results in them embarking on a quest, along with Fran’s son, Kieran, to make the most of every day because, after all, you never know if it might be your last.
The story is told from Fran’s point of view meaning that the reader gets to witness her ever-changing emotions: doubt, guilt, resentment, frustration and an abiding sense of injustice. Not all of these may seem warranted. For instance, her initial response to Will’s revelation is one of anger when you might have expected, or hoped, her to feel sympathy – especially since Fran has a big secret of her own that she’s concealed for twenty-five years (the nature of which readers may well guess).
I found myself with immense sympathy for Will. Not only is he attempting to put things right with Fran but he is facing a personal challenge with fortitude and dignity. His tender relationship with his daughter, Elodie, was heart-warming and I also liked the bond he formed with Fran’s son, Kieran. Will’s world is rocked when Fran finally reveals the secrets she has concealed for so long but, despite everything he’s going through, he shows a capacity for forgiveness I found astonishing.
There are joyful moments in the book – one of my favourites involving Krispy Kreme doughnuts – but there is immense sadness as well. Before We Grow Old is something of an emotional rollercoaster that will have you laughing one moment and tearful the next. As the author demonstrates, life is a journey in which you never know what’s around the next corner. Carpe diem, as they say.
In three words: Emotional, tender, romantic
Try something similar: The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves
About the Author
Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages.
She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines.
She lives in Hertfordshire.