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 other 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.
I received this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.
The Things We Keep, by Sally Hepworth, is a beautiful story. Sure it’s about a two women having to deal with a major life changing dilemmas but somehow even reading about the sadness is uplifting.
You have Anna that is in the beginning of early on-set Alzheimer’s and has been put into a home for her own safety and it sucks but it also doesn’t. She knows she can’t take care of herself anymore. She doesn’t want to hurt her brother or his family. She willing accepts that this facility will be her home forever now because her life took a turn she wasn’t expecting. One of the good things to come from Rosalind House is Luke. He’s also one of the “younger” people in the home, he’s experiencing a disease that steals his words. One day he’ll be mute but he finds happiness just being alive and shares this happiness with Anna. Who knew you could find love just as you were losing your mind?
I like that the author give you a glimpse into what it must be like to have Alzheimer’s. To lose track of days, to forget simple words, and even forget members of your own family. So often we see the family’s side of things and the turmoil it causes them but rarely do we see what it must be like for the person that is actually living it. I felt like the author could have delved a little deeper but then it would have caused the book to take a different turn all together so maybe its better she didn’t.
Eve is someone you cheer for right away, or at least I did. She’s the naïve wife of a Bernie Madoff husband that ruined so many lives, including that of his family’s before taking his own life. He choose the easy way out and Eve is left to deal with all the aftermath. She has to somehow make sure her daughter remembers her daddy and that he loved her and not what the mean, spiteful children at school say to her. That part of the story really bothered me. People forget how cruel children can be to each other when nobody is listening. It reminded me to be more aware of things I say around small ears, they hear what you say and repeat it with the same malicious attitude they heard it.
Eventually the lives of these two woman intersect. Eve takes a job as a cook/housekeeper at the facility that is now Anna’s home. Eve meets Anna at a far more progressed state than we do but still sees the spark that is Anna and I really liked that. It made me think that even a mind shattering disease might not be able to steal our true self that sits behind out eyes.
Eve makes it her mission to see Anna and Luke together after a twist in the story causes Anna’s family to want to keep her away from Luke. I found Eve to be both stupid and brave about this, she was willing to risk her job….a job that supported her and her daughter for a stranger but it also renewed my feelings that we as human beings are inherently good and want to help others.
The story is set at a decent pace and does jump around a bit but all in all it was a great story that I recommend to all readers. There wasn’t anything written that would be considered too racy for any age group.
Take a moment and go check out Sally on her Facebook page.