Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility.Read more...
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Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there's just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.
Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daugher, 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. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher.
With huge heart, humor, and a compassionate understanding of human nature, Sally Hepworth delivers a page-turning novel about the power of love to grow and endure even when faced with the most devastating of obstacles. You won t forget this book."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-11-02
- Reviewer: Staff
Hepworths second novel (after The Secrets of Midwives) explores issues of self-determination and identity through an unconventional tearjerker of a love story. Diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers at 39, Anna has made the difficult decision to move into a residential care facility. Though shes mostly surrounded by senior citizens, theres one other self-described young person, old mind: Luke, who suffers from frontotemporal dementia. The two immediately bond over their unlikely shared circumstance, and eventually their friendship moves into romance. But as Annas condition worsens, the question of whether she is capable of relationships, or of falling in love, comes into question, and her family insists that she and Luke be kept apart. The homes new cook, Eve, is charmed by Luke and Annas tale of star-crossed love, and she vows to help them at any costbut her understanding of the potential dangers is incomplete, and facilitating their romance could put more than just her job in jeopardy. The storys nonlinear structure, designed to mimic Annas disorientation, cleverly obscures a few reveals that color the readers perception of the dilemma at hand, and while none of these reveals are particularly surprising, theyre no less heartbreaking. A supporting cast of quirky old folks and Eves precocious daughter add levity to a poignant and nuanced story. (Jan.)
A late love blooms against the odds
Yes, the heroine of The Things We Keep, Anna, is a 38-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who is confined to an assisted-living facility. But no, Australian writer Sally Hepworth’s second novel is not depressing, and while her narrative can be sad and even painful at times, it is never bleak. On the contrary, the story of Anna and her “boyfriend” at Rosalind House, fellow patient Luke, is tragic but also hopeful, positive and even romantic.
Anna and Luke’s relationship may be the heart of the novel, but its peripheral characters are equally compelling. First among these is Eve, a young mother who lost her identity after her husband’s precipitous fall from grace and reinvents herself as the cook at the assisted-living facility. Hepworth’s depiction of Eve’s spirited daughter, Clem, is also heartrending, as are her portrayals of the eclectic contingent of residents at Rosalind House.
Hepworth’s debut, The Secrets of Midwives, was critically acclaimed, and it’s always a formidable task to impress readers with a second novel. But with The Things We Keep, Hepworth proves that literary lightning can indeed strike twice.