December 26, 2015 by Betty
Title: The Things We Keep
Author: Sally Hepworth
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Pages: 352 (hardcover)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (January 19, 2016)
I just finished reading Sally Hepworth’s The Things We Keep. I was given this ebook to review via NetGalley. To start, let me give you the story summary.
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.
The Things We Keep is definitely a book I would recommend. Just be warned, there was one or two detailed **ahem** “romantic” interludes. The book really goes in depth into the human psyche, and many other topics like bullying, mourning and Alzheimer’s. (Hepworth has all her bases covered.) In relation to Anna’s Alzheimer, it raises the question of whether we can miss and long for people simply from our subconscious feelings for them.
I enjoy how the chapters switch back and forth between the main characters and let the reader inside their head. Especially in Anna’s situation, those chapters give insight into why certain things happen even when the other character’s don’t understand. Clementine’s chapters broke my heart a little bit. Even though she is only seven, she faces cruel bullying from one of her classmates. Eve’s mom (who works as the cook/housekeeper at Rosalind House) is also facing difficulties after her husband kills himself. She is a social pariah, a single mom, and she loses her home and most of her possessions.
While working at Rosalind House she comes to know it’s residents better, including Luke and Anna, whom she is determined to keep together for the sake of their happiness. At one point, Bert, one of R.H.’s residents tells her, “In the end, you just remember the moments of joy. When all is said and done, those are the things we keep.” Eve takes these words to heart and tries to help other live enjoying the moments of joy.
I love how Sally Hepworth lets you get a look into everyone’s lives and problems. It reminded me to not judge people and try to dictate their lives. (Though I don’t do that anyway.) Come January, I definitely recommend you pick up a copy for yourself.