I’m delighted to see So Many Ways of Loving, a new novel by Christine Webber about to make its way into the world – it’s been far too long since the last one.
So Many Ways of Loving is described as 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. It features three women in their 50s and 60s who travel through the most momentous year of their lives, and as they do so, they realise just how much we depend upon family, friends and pets.
I read Christine’s first book Who’d Have Thought It several years ago and loved it, I described it at the time as a rom-com aimed at a more mature market – something I appreciated, being on the mature, OK very mature side of 50 myself. I also enjoyed It’s Who We Are, a book about five friends in their fifties who find themselves dealing with long-hidden and devastating family secrets. What I’ve come to appreciate about Christine’s writing is her ability to authentically portray the nature of friendships and relationships as we get older.
It’s no surprise then that I’m looking forward to reading So Many Ways of Loving which has been described as
A poignant and insightful tale of widowhood and other challenges of later life which really resonated with my clinical experience.Dr Max Pemberton, Psychiatrist and Daily Mail columnist.
Of course I would expect nothing less as Christine trained as a psychotherapist herself and started a practice in Harley Street which she shared with her late husband, Dr David Delvin. Sadly that also gives her a very personal insight into widowhood. However, I’m expecting this book to ultimately be an uplifting read, because that is also reflection of Christine herself.
In 2010 Christine wrote Too Young to Get Old : the baby boomers guide to living life to the full which is a lively, honest, entertaining and informed guide on how to live as well and as healthily as you can for as long as you can – and enjoy every minute of it!
It’s something that Christine still firmly believes in and she currently writes a fortnightly column for East Anglian newspapers all about positive ageing. In a piece written last year, before the pandemic struck, Christine extolled the importance of friends,
quite apart from what our friends do for us, we benefit from having people in our lives we care for, because this stops us from being too focused on ourselves.
Sadly, many older people believe it’s impossible to make new friends. In fact, it’s entirely possible, but it does take effort.
When I was a teenager, I used to read an agony column penned by a rather stern lady in the weekly magazine my mum bought. Her advice about loneliness was always to “join a club”. This made me laugh. But now I realise she was right.
If we pursue activities we’re interested in, whether that’s flower arranging, learning a foreign language, walking, singing in a choir, or belonging to a book group, we meet other adults who like the same things we do. We get talking to them, and maybe have a glass of wine together, and before we know it, we have another friend.
Certainly, since returning to Norfolk, I’ve made several great pals through my own hobbies, which are music, books and exercise.
And I’ve taken to heart what the inspirational Suffolk-based Royal Ballet star Gary Avis once told me: “No one’s ever lonely in a dance class.”
I’ve only met one totally friendless person. She was a patient of mine, and though she was intelligent, and quite well off, she was entirely self-absorbed and simply couldn’t grasp this basic rule: to have a friend you need to be a friend.
Most of us, however, do understand that, and know how to make friends, even if we’re a bit rusty. So, let’s keep up our tally of mates.Eastern Daily Press, February 10, 2020
I just know that the characters I’m about to meet will face their challenges with positivity, safe in the knowledge that good friends are at hand. How convenient that I’m on holiday because I’ve now got the perfect book to keep me company, thanks to Christine, who I’m very happy to consider a friend.
So Many Ways of Loving is published tomorrow (17th June) and available to pre-order from the following outlets:
About Christine Webber
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.