A Most Desirable Marriage


“I was so torn, writing this book… I wasn’t sure till I was right at the end… So much hurt and betrayal can’t just fade away…”

Lawrence and Jo enjoy a strong marriage, the envy of their friends. Even after thirty years they have lots to say to each other, many interests in common and, until recently, a good sex life.

But now Lawrence is 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?

‘I’m fascinated by long marriages,’ says Hilary Boyd. ‘The average length of a marriage at the beginning of the last century was 15 years. Now it’s not uncommon to make 50. But what is it like to be married to the same person for so long? How do we make it work?’

Jo and Lawrence, like so many other people, never question their marriage, never really talk about it much. They’ve both had careers, brought up their two kids and are now approaching retirement – things have gone relatively smoothly for them.

But we change over a lifetime. And we probably should get wise to the fact that maybe our marriages do too. What works for a thirty-something won’t necessarily work for a sixty-something. 

When, out of the blue, Lawrence announces that he’s having a relationship with someone else, it’s obviously shattering for Jo. Especially at her age – her chances of finding another partner at 60 being much reduced. She could face being old and alone.

But despite what he’s done, the ties between her and Lawrence are still so strong. It’s very hard to break what is literally a habit of a lifetime. They are good friends as much as lovers. 

What will win out? The thrill Lawrence is experiencing of new, exciting sex – reinventing himself, just when he’s scared of retirement and all it implies? Or the enduring nature of love and close friendship?

 ‘I was so torn, writing this book,’ Hilary says. ‘I wasn’t sure till I was right at the end, whether I wanted Jo and Lawrence to make it together. So much hurt and betrayal can’t just fade away. If they are to be together it’ll take a huge amount of work… but it’s not impossible. I do believe that.’


“I loved the fact that the central character is a strong, older woman. She does have her moments when she just wants to lock herself away from the world, but generally I found myself wanting to cheer her on as she chooses to get on with her life. I always think that it is important to care for the characters that you read about and I really did in this book which is probably why I felt so involved.

Hilary Boyd has an easy style of writing and the subject matter is very contemporary. Having read other books from this author, A Most Desirable Marriage definitely heads my list. It’s a most desirable read.”

The Bookbag