Driven Press is excited to announce the release of Barbara Lorna Hudson's women's literary fiction novel, Timed Out, in paperback and e-book formats world-wide today.
Jane Lambert thinks she may have made a mistake putting her work ahead of love and family for so long. She’s left wondering what to do with her life now that she has retired.
Taking note of the sentiment from one of her retirement cards⎯Retirement is NOT the end. It’s a NEW BEGINNING⎯she decides it’s about time she looked for love again, and places a lonely hearts advertisement. Jane embarks on her new life, suffering disappointments and learning hard truths about herself, while never losing her gift for self mockery or her eye for the absurd.
Timed Out is a contemporary “coming-of-age” novel about different kinds of love and the search for a meaningful life.
Praise for Timed Out
Lovely lucid fiction, poignant and bittersweet. A story of late life romance told with honesty and wit.
—Adam Foulds, author of ManBooker shortlisted The Quickening Maze.
The important question of how we should live the last decades of our life is timely. Timed Out explores this question in a poignant and truthful manner.
—Michelle Spring, Cambridge novelist.
A good way to exercise your brain and meet new people is to sign up for continuing education. During those first weeks of retirement, I attended a course on the English Civil War.
Lecture number three focused on King Charles I and his family. As the audience was assembling, I caught sight of a once-familiar figure taking his seat a few rows forward from me. I guessed he’d retired to Cambridge. It wasn’t unusual to come upon people I’d known when we were students, people who somehow found their way back to Cambridge in later years, like homing pigeons released from cages far away. This man’s hair was white and his face was lined and fallen, and I noticed with sadness that he walked with a stick. He turned and scanned the lecture hall. His gaze rested on me briefly, and he turned away. I glanced down at my notebook, examined the liver spots on my hands, and then looked furtively up again and saw that he was studying me, puzzled, half-recognising me, perhaps.
His name? It was strange to have forgotten, for he was important to me once, an early Cambridge romance. We’d spent a few steamy, strenuous afternoons in bed in his college room. The name came to me at last: Peter . . . Richards or Richardson. His favourite song was “Dites moi pourquoi la vie est belle? Dites moi pourquoi la vie est gai?” And, it is true, our lives were beautiful and merry in those days. Two years ahead of me, he had left to work overseas, and we soon lost touch.
The lecture began. We were shown photos of the statues of King Charles and Queen Henrietta Maria, both of them flattered, glossy in bronze, gazing at one another from opposite sides of the quad in St John’s College Oxford. The lecturer pointed out that though they looked a handsome couple, in reality the King was very short and the Queen had a twisted spine and sticking-out teeth. Charles was a faithful, adoring husband. The royal couple commemorated their reunion after the Battle of Edgehill with a special coin. While the court was in Oxford, they spent their afternoons together; the King came out of Christchurch to the Queen’s rooms in Merton College through the small gateway they say was made specially for him. He rode at her side all the way from Oxford to Abingdon, where they parted for the last time, and she fainted when they had to say goodbye. As I looked up at the portraits of Charles and Henrietta Maria on the screen, I felt—ridiculous though it was—I felt envious. How could anyone envy a long-dead, failed, beheaded king and the sorrowing queen he left behind? Yet I couldn’t help but admire Charles and Henrietta Maria for their enduring love.
After the lecture, in order to avoid coming face to face with Peter Richards or Richardson, I hurried to the exit, carrying away those faint but pleasant memories, wanting to keep what was left of them intact. And not wanting him to see me in close-up, elderly and changed.