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Monday, January 18, 2016

(8)The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth


Anna Forster is thirty-eight years old and has Alzheimer's disease.  The horrible disease killed their mother so it only stood to reason that either Anna or her twin brother, Jack, would also fall victim to the disease.  Jack is perfect, his lawyer's brain is fully intact.  Anna, on the other hand, is starting to exhibit symptoms and has left her unhappy marriage to fight the disease for as long as she can with everything she's got.  It isn't long though before Jack and Anna decide to move her to the Rosalind House, a  care facility where Anna won't be the only "young" person with a dementia related disease.   Luke and Anna hit it off right off the bat.  They bond over their shared disease, their individual fights to keep their dignity, and their unique positions in a care facility meant for the elderly.  As their conditions deteriorate Anna and Luke's respective families feel it best that their romantic relationship not continue and the staff of Rosalind House must take extreme measures to prevent the late night rendezvous from happening.


Eve Bennett is hired as the new cook at Rosalind House after her husband's high profile death.  She escapes into her new job as cook and housekeeper at the Rosalind House.   Eve watches the romance blossom between Luke and Anna and disagrees with management's approach to keep them apart.  But will her support of true love cause more harm than good?

Ever since reading Still Alice I have lived in fear of Alzheimer's disease and I find myself drawn to stories about people with this horrific disease.    The Things We Keep is a book that will break your heart.  Anna is an imperfect character you know, the kind of character who isn't that great at relationships, but is beloved by her brother's kids.  Her relationship with Luke develops in a rather quick manner and I kind of get it.  She is struggling to simple things, like which door is the bathroom and the names of people she just met.  A primal instinct like sex is something that she doesn't forget and can make her feel more alive.  I get it.  There were some plot holes that drove me nuts and I will keep those to myself to prevent spoilers, but I think you will catch them, too.  Also the timeline is a bit jumpy and a bit tough to keep track of.  I still don't know exactly when Eve came on the scene in relation to when Anna became a resident of Rosalind House. But, it wasn't enough to keep me from getting into the story. I still just had to know what happened to Anna.

Bottom line - The Things We Keep is more than just a story about a woman with Alzheimer's. It is a story about love in the face of the most incredible odds.  And who doesn't love a good love story.

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