Book Review: Before We Grow Old by Clare Swatman

I’d like to welcome Clare Swatman to Novel Kicks today and the blog tour for her latest novel, Before We Grow Old. 

When seven-year-old Fran first met Will they knew instantly that they were made for each other. For eleven years they were inseparable, but then, at the age of eighteen, Will just upped and disappeared.

Twenty-five years later Will is back.

Is fate trying to give them a second chance?

Still nursing the heart break from all those years ago, Fran is reluctant to give Will the time of day. The price Will must pay is to tell the truth – the truth about why he left, the truth about why he’s back…

And Fran has her own secrets to hide. The time has come to decide what Fran and Will really want from life – before it’s too late.


Will was the love of Fran’s life. Having been friends since childhood, she thought they would always be together.

When Will then leaves, leaving Fran a letter, she’s heartbroken, thinking she will never see him again.

So, bumping into him twenty five years later is a shock.

Can they pick up where they left off? Is Will hiding something? Worse still, will he find out Fran’s secret?

From the moment I started reading, I knew this book was going to make me cry. I can’t give you a solid reason how I knew, but I did.

Fran is a relatable character in many ways. She’s a single parent, trying to do the best she can for her son and when Will returns, she gives herself hope that she can be happy. Of course, life sometimes has other plans. I really felt a lot of love and empathy for her and Will at multiple points in the novel.

The other characters in the novel are wonderful; Kieran and Elodie especially. Clare Swatman does a really good job of pulling the reader into the story and making them feel like they are a part of this family, going through all these adventures and emotions.

There were such a mixture of highs and lows in this book. One moment I was laughing (an incident with a trampoline was very funny and something I could picture myself doing if I were to step foot on one at my age,) and the next I was crying. There were both heartbreaking and life affirming moments.

It tackles themes such as grief and loss well.

I don’t want to say much more as I don’t want to spoil it for people who decide to give this book a read (and I hope you do. It’s wonderful.)

Before You Grow Old is a beautifully written love story which also looks at how short life can be, how opportunities should be seized with both hands and enjoyed and above all, the importance of love, family and being fearless.

Thank you to Clare and Boldwood Books for the advanced review copy in exchange for an honest review. 


About Clare Swatman: 

Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire.

Say hell to Clare via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Before We Grow Old was released by Boldwood Books on 19th January 2022. Click to buy on Amazon UK (the eBook is currently 99 pence,) and Waterstones


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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