The Things We Keep

The Things We Keep – Sally Hepworth

Fiction

Kindle edition

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We can make each moment frightening for her with the truth. Or we can lie to her and make each moment happy and joyous. I know what I’d prefer if it were me.”

What is memory, really? What is speech? Do we need to remember a person in order to love them? And if we love them, do the words even matter?

These are all questions Hepworth explores in the beautifully-written The Things We Keep, which centers around three women. Anna, a 38 year old suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s; Eve, a widow trying to pick up the pieces of her fractured life; and Clem, Eve’s daughter, who is just as much a victim of her father’s betrayal as the rest of the world.

When Anna’s family admits her into Rosalind House, they counted on her being protected and cared for. What they never counted on was her finding a partner amidst all the confusion. But then Anna meets Luke, Rosalind House’s other younger resident who is also suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s. Luke’s form of Dementia affects his speech. However, despite the many obstacles each of them face, they begin to forge a friendship. And then that friendship becomes something much more…

Eve never expected to find herself as a single parent. Yet after her husband Richard’s Bernie Madoff-esque ponzi scheme is revealed, that is exactly the role Eve is thrust into. Faced with the daunting task of raising her daughter, Clem, in a much lower tax bracket than the two of them are accustomed to, Eve takes a job as the chef at Rosalind House.

While performing her duties, Eve takes notice of the budding relationship between Anna and Luke. They seem so much happier when they are around each other, or at least Anna does. But Anna’s brother Jack doesn’t feel it’s in Anna’s best interest to be around Luke. Only Eve feels it is.

What would you do if you knew, instinctively, that being around a specific person could greatly enhance someone else’s life? Would you risk your job?

And what if you were wrong? Would you still take that chance?

After all, Anna’s memory is deteriorating rapidly. There’s no conclusive evidence that she – or Luke – even remember who the other is at any given point.

Plus, in addition to fighting for Anna and Luke, Eve is also fighting for her daughter, Clem. Clem’s still too young to really grasp what her father has done. All she knows is people are saying terrible things about her dad.

When someone we love has done the unthinkable, how do we cope? Are we expected to let go of all the wonderful memories?

And more importantly, when we’re losing ourselves and our grips on reality, what are the things we try the hardest to keep?

Conclusion: ⅘ stars

All The Missing Girls

Screenshot 2017-03-14 at 10.32.30 PMAll The Missing Girls –  Megan Miranda

Hard copy book edition

Mystery, fiction

“Missing girls had a way of working their way into someone’s head. You couldn’t help but see them in everyone – how temporary and fragile we might be.”  – Nicolette Farrell

Ten years earlier, Nicolette’s best friend vanished into thin air.

Ten years earlier, Nic left Cooley Ridge after her best friend vanished into thin air.

Ten years earlier, Nic left the love of her life, Tyler, after her best friend vanished into thin air.

Nic thought it was all behind her. After all, it was ten years ago.

Only then she gets word that her father isn’t doing well and she needs to come back home. Home. Otherwise known as Cooley Ridge, North Carolina.

Otherwise known as the place with too many secrets.

The place with the woods.

But Nic knows all to well that the woods have eyes and secrets never stay buried, especially when someone goes missing and those secrets are forced out. Because that’s what happened with Corinne’s investigation. It broke them open and apart.

And now, fate seems poised to do it again. Because in the midst of attempting to help her brother with their ailing father, Nic finds herself smack dab in the middle of another investigation involving a second missing girl.

This time it’s Annaleise Carter. Although it’s ten years later and Annaleise is twenty-three, Nic can’t help but see her as a thirteen year old girl, the same thirteen year old girl who somehow got swept up into the mess of Corinne’s disappearance. She had been Nic’s alibi, as well as Tyler, Nic’s boyfriend, and Daniel, Nic’s brother.

Only Annaleise isn’t a kid anymore. She’s a young woman. A young woman who has been dating Nic’s ex, Tyler. A young woman whose curiosity about Corinne could cause Nic and the people she cares about a lot of trouble…

…just like Corinne.

All The Missing Girls is quite a ride of a novel. Told in reverse chronological order, Miranda leaves her readers grasping for more as she weaves a delicious web of lies and half-truths, and delves deep into the various sordid relationships between all of these characters and what part, if any, each person played in the disappearance of Corinne and Annaleise, as well as posing one very important question:

Can you ever really escape your past?

Conclusion: 3.5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

 

The Forgetting Time

The Forgetting Time – Sharon Guskin (physical book)images-1

Wow. Sharon Guskin hits a home run with her debut novel, The Forgetting Time. I really did not want this book to end because I found it so engrossing. But with that being said, it may not be for everyone. The story follows single mom Janie and her precocious son four year old son, Noah. Parenting is never easy, and parenting as a single mother is even harder, but as the story unfolds, Janie cannot even begin to imagine how difficult caring for Noah will become. You see, Janie finds that Noah’s oddities can no longer be dismissed as him having a vivid imagination. Noah remembers things he should have no memory of, like a vacation house. He’s never seen a gun, but tells stories of being shot. And Janie’s never read Harry Potter to him, and yet, he knows details from the books. Faced with the possibility that Noah might be sick, Janie becomes desperate for answers, desperate enough to seek out Dr. Jerome Anderson. Anderson, who was once a prominent and promising professor of psychology is now the laughing stock of his field. Why? Because his life’s work has become about chasing down accounts of past lives.

Now, you don’t have to believe in reincarnation to enjoy this book, but being more open to it helps.

In the end, though, it’s not about the metaphysical. It’s a book that challenges us to ask questions, questions like, what came before and how does it affect who we are now? Do we really only live once? And finally, can we ever reconcile our past with our future?

Conclusion: 5/5 Stars