REVIEW: THE THINGS WE KEEP, BY SALLY HEPWORTH

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Anna Forster’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease at age 38 is devastating. She manages for a while in her twin brother Jack’s home, but an accident leads to the realization that she needs more care. So she ends up in a residential home, with all elderly residents…except for one man named Luke.

The connection developing between Anna and Luke is cause for concern for Jack, some of the staff, and the director. But one employee, Eve, the new cook, sees something different. She notices that Anna and Luke have a real connection, which is opposite what one might expect for patients with dementia.

Eve’s story is an interesting one. What brought her to Rosalind House was the need to earn money after her husband’s death, and the subsequent financial ruin he left behind after divesting his clients of their money in a scandalous Ponzi-like scheme. Their daughter Clementine, age seven, is also suffering the after-effects of the ruined reputation via bullying at school.

Multiple narrators tell the story of The Things We Keep, which was so engaging that I had difficulty putting the book down. I came to care deeply for Anna, Luke, and Eve…and even the gardener Angus, who offers support and comfort to Eve.

What underlying issues will come up in the facility when staff members clamp down on Anna and Luke? How will Eve deal with the repercussions of some of her actions? And how will Clementine cope with the bullies at school?

There were some actions taken by Eve that I came to question as pretty risky, or perhaps even unprofessional, but her heart was in the right place. I enjoyed her story, as well as Anna’s. I also liked the first person narrative of Clementine, shedding a great deal of light on this child’s perspective. 4.5 stars.

My e-ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley.

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