Friday, March 18, 2016

The things we keep by Sally Hepworth

5 Star

Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there's just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna's and Luke's families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. 

Kathryn - 5 Star

I read Sally Hepworth’s novel last year The Secrets of Midwives and really enjoyed her different female voices in that story so I was happy to embark upon this new novel.  Once again I was treated with several strong women and Hepworth brought each of them out in a wonderful way.

This novel is different as it covers the voice of a young woman with early onset Alzheimer’s.   Anna is only in her late 30’s and I found her story very upsetting initially but I was engrossed in the way her voice came across as she gradually lost more of her memory. It was undeniably sad but also gave some insight into her expectations and experience. I thought it was very well plotted and explored especially with the interactions with her brother and his family.

I found the daughter Clem most intense- though I think her thought process seemed a bit beyond 7 years old at some points. Her pain and hurt was so tangible and I was frustrated for her especially with the parents of the children in her school.  They were of course entitled to be angry but should have been more mature than to express that to their own children who would pass it on to Clem.  I wanted to jump into the book and shout more than once.

The novel weaves the story of Clem and her mother with the patient, Anna, in the care home. Not a natural or previously used plot line I think so it was original and very well done. I delved into new thought processes and really enjoyed the difficult topics in the novel- there was hope and happiness amongst the sadness.

Thank you to St Martin's Press for our review copy.  All opinions are our own.

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