“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!