So Many Ways of Loving is a novel in which, at first glance, nothing much happens – there’s no espionage, no high-speed car chases, murders, or haunted houses. But in a sense, everything happens – loss, death, grief, serious illness, but also birth, unexpected romance, fresh adventures and numerous possibilities. Three women in their 50s and 60s travel through the most momentous year of their lives, and as they do so, they are reminded of just how much we depend upon family, friends and pets.
Dr Max Pemberton – psychiatrist and Daily Mail columnist – who has provided the cover quote for So Many Ways of Loving, says: ‘This is a poignant and insightful tale of widowhood and other challenges of later life which really resonated with my clinical experience.’
I adore Christine Webber! She writes books that highlight the issues and problems that occur as we get older, delivering perfectly crafted characters who face various complications in their “mid life”. So Many Ways of Loving once again follows this pattern as we meet 3 very different women over the age of 50 during a difficult and emotional year in their lives. Monica, Lucy and Jen meet when they apply for a job vacancy and after they get chatting they decide to leave the interview and go and get coffee instead. And it’s while they are there that another opportunity presents itself…
There’s a famous quote that says “life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans” and that saying sprung to mind immediately when I started reading So Many Ways of Loving. Often we are so busy making plans for our futures, that we don’t take the time to realise that life is passing us by and we don’t enjoy the present. I know myself that I’m often saying to The Grumpy Scotsman that when we retire we will spend time together playing golf, going on holiday etc whereas the truth is that we can be doing those things right now while we are present in the moment as who knows what our situation will be when retirement eventually does come knocking! And the women in this beautifully written novel are about to have their expectations of life challenged by the unexpected. There aren’t lots of major dramas here just expertly portrayed women experiencing… LIFE! And realising that life is always changing but we adapt, we survive and we keep on going. Ageing needs to be a positive experience and it’s only when we get to a crossroads in our life that we realise just how much we rely on the love and companionship of those around us-our friends, our families…and our dogs!!
Christine Webber has again used her own life experiences and her in-depth knowledge of older peoples relationships to create a poignant, insightful book with well balanced and recognisable women that I could totally relate to. The ending did come as a little bit of a shock though although the very last line really did make me laugh!
A relatable tale with some wonderfully vibrant characters-I adored it!
Christine Webber tried various careers in her younger days – she was a classical singer, a Principal Boy in pantomimes, an undistinguished actress as well as a piano and singing teacher. Fortunately, for her, when she was thirty, she managed to get a job in television as a continuity announcer, and shortly thereafter she became a news presenter at Anglia TV. Finally, she had found an occupation she liked that other people thought she was good at. This was a massive relief.
In her early forties, she married the love of her life, David Delvin. Soon afterwards, she decided it was time to leave news presenting to train as a psychotherapist and she also became a problem page columnist for various publications including TV Times, Best, BBC Parenting, The Scotsman and Woman. In addition, she regularly broadcast relationship advice on Trisha, The Good Sex Guide …Late and from the BBC’s Breakfast sofa.
In her fifties, she and her husband set up a practice in Harley Street, and they worked together there and collaborated on several books. They also wrote the sex/relationships content on http://www.netdoctor.co.uk and penned a joint column for the health section of The Spectator.
Over the decades, Christine was commissioned to write ten self-help books including Get the Happiness Habit, How to Mend a Broken Heart and Too Young to Get Old.
Now, in her seventies, her focus is on the issues of mid and later life. She makes video podcasts on positive ageing and writes a column for various regional papers on that theme. She is also a life coach specialising in health and ageing. But she has no plans for any more non-fiction books. Instead, for the past five years she has concentrated on writing novels for and about older people. Previous titles in this genre have been Who’d Have Thought It? and It’s Who We Are.
So Many Ways of Loving is about the major life changes we have to expect as we age, but it also highlights the possibilities of numerous new beginnings as well as our crucial need for strong bonds with friends and families – and pets.