“The things we keep” by Sally Hepworth – Book Review

“I like it when people remember that I’m a person, not just a person with Alzheimer’s.”

Anna Forster, a vibrant woman in her mid thirties who works as a paramedic, rides motorcycles, and loves life, is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She enlists the aid of her twin brother Jack to install her in to ‘Rosalind House’, a private assisted living facility. It is a large Georgian house which houses twelve residents and various staff. Ten of the twelve are geriatric. Anna and another man named Luke are still young. Both Luke and Anna are fighting the battle of their lives. It would only stand to reason that under these circumstances they become more than friends.

Eve Bennett had it all. A loving husband, a beautiful daughter, loads of money and a gorgeous house. Then, one tragic day she discovered that her husband had orchestrated a Ponzi scheme. They lost everything – it was more than he could deal with…

Now Eve is a single mother, living with her daughter in a very modest one bedroom apartment. She applies for a job as a cook at Rosalind House because it will enable her to keep her daughter Clementine in the school where all her friends go.

Eve, a gourmet cook, is hired not only to cook, but to clean up after the residents. It is a mighty step-down from her former life. Her friends don’t want anything to do with her. Some of them lost their money via her husband’s Ponzi scheme. Some are just to snobbish to associate with her since her fall from grace.

Clementine Bennett, aged seven, is trying to deal with her Daddy’s death, her reduced circumstances, and the teasing and taunting of her friends.  She goes to Rosalind House with her mother before school and again after school. The residents enjoy her presence. She shows them her Irish dance and sings for them. Her youthful innocence and questions are a welcome change from the sameness of their existence.

I’ve had this book on my TBR for quite some time. I guess I knew it would be a difficult read and I was hesitant to put myself through the heartbreak.  It IS hard to read, I mean, how could it not be? The story is about a woman in her late thirties who has early onset Alzheimer’s.  A woman of that age living in an assisted living facility with geriatric patients is a fate that causes me to weep. I’m almost three decades older than Anna’s character and I would find the situation abhorrent, even for someone my age.

The story of the deceived single mother, Eve Bennett also tugged at my heart-strings. And Clementine Bennett was a delight.

The writing was skillful. The situation tragic and all too believable. Believe me – more than one tissue was required in the reading of this novel.

The title fit the book perfectly as is evidenced by this quote: “When you get to my age, you don’t waste time with regrets. In the end, you just remember the moments of joy. When all is said and done those are the things we keep.”

It is a novel that teaches you to find joy even when situations seem horrendous and insurmountable.

This novel broke my heart – and healed it simultaneously. A wonderful love story that is a also a prime example of fine women’s fiction. Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, Love stories, NetGalley, Women's fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to “The things we keep” by Sally Hepworth – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘T’ #GreatReads #ReadingForPleasure | Fictionophile

  2. carhicks says:

    Great review Lynne. This sounds like a very emotional read. My BIL was just diagnosed with alzheimer’s. I should give this one a go.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *sigh* It’s on my shelf but I haven’t yet found the courage to read it, having lost so many family members to this insidious disease. Thanks for a lovely review💜

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this author and her books always make me tear up. I’m not sure why I haven’t read this one yet. Definitely going to read it soon! Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alexandra says:

    This sounds like a heartbreaking, and emotional roller coaster ride of a read, one to have a box of tissues at the ready?


  6. Carol says:

    This sounds like a powerful and memorable read. I love the title and it’s meaning. 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This sounds like a powerful book. My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s, so this topic interests me. Thanks for sharing your review.


  8. Ayah says:

    Your review is amazing!! I really feel like picking this book right away.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. bwreviews says:

    Great review! I don’t know if this is something I’d read (not a big romance reader and this sounds like romance to me) but I always appreciate good dementia rep. Currently, everyone I see for my practicum has some kind of dementia.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks. I’m not a big romance reader either. Although this book is a ‘love story’ I would not consider it romance by any stretch. After years of cataloging in a public library I have strict views on the difference between love stories and romances. They differ greatly in my mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. It sounds like this book would tear me apart – I must read it (that tear-jerker graphic is excellent).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nicely crafted review


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s