Book Review “Then and Now by R.J.Gould


Then and now

Sandy is about to retire following an illustrious career as editor of an upmarket fashion magazine.

Michael can’t retire, he thinks his work to explain the dangers of climate change is far too important.

Jonathan is considering retiring from running his fundraising consultancy.

These three were the best of friends at university before a tragedy wrecked their friendship. They haven’t spoken since.

Fifty years on, they arrange to meet at a reunion. Having reminisced about student life during a wild and self-indulgent era with its heady mix of free love, drugs and ground-breaking music, they share their life journeys since the Swinging Sixties – the successes and failures, the happiness and despair, and their optimism and fears for the future.

The reunion is drawing to a close. Dare they tackle the incident that tore them apart, an event that has brought guilt for so many years? If they are to have any chance of reconciliation they have to, but the clock is ticking.

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I’m going to jump in feet first and say I loved Then and Now. I was utterly hooked and thought the characters were brilliantly written. The fact that they have lived their lives, worked hard and now in their later years, heading into retirement they are trying to make amends. The chapters work excellently so we get to know each character from the times they shared at Uni right up to the present day. The reunion is thankfully a happy occasion but the range of complexities seen that leads up to this point are truly engaging. I was fully immersed in each of the plots and enjoyed following how Sandy, Michael and Jonathan face a new chapter in their lives, retirement and all that may bring with it. Looking back on past loves, loses, mistakes and trying to make all of that count now as much as it did then.

This is a gripping story in so far as the characters are so well written, flaws and all. They are realistic and I connected with each one, thinking, yep that’s me or oh that is so and so. A great and superbly written, almost life affirming read. If you have never read R.J. Gould then I’m highly recommending this one. It’s a fantastic contemporary book full of laughs and sadness and relationships that we can all relate too.

Author Bio –

R J Gould writes contemporary fiction about relationships, using a mix of humour and pathos to describe the tragi-comic life journeys of his characters. Then and now is his seventh novel, following The Engagement Party, Jack and Jill Went Downhill, Mid-life follies, The bench by Cromer beach, Nothing Man and Dream Café. He is a member of Cambridge Writers and a rare male member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Before becoming a full-time author he worked in the educational and charity sectors.

R J Gould lives in Cambridge.

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With Thanks for the Advance copy to ….

Rachel Gilby

R.J. Gould


3 thoughts on “Book Review “Then and Now by R.J.Gould

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