“There are three things you should know about Elsie.
The first thing is that she’s my best friend.
The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better.
And the third thing… might take a little bit more explaining.
84-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, Florence wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light; and, if the charming new resident is who he claims to be, why does he look exactly like a man who died sixty years ago?
From the author of THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP, this book will teach you many things, but here are three of them:
1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.”
Three Things About Elsie begins with 84 year old Florence (Flo) lying on the floor in her assisted living home after a fall and waiting for help. While she waits she starts to think back through her life and the friendships most important to her – including her best friend from childhood, Elsie.
Through flashbacks we learn that Flo has been forgetting things and getting muddled up and as you would expect she is becoming increasingly concerned about this development. A new face appears at the assisted living facility and wraps everything up in old memories for Flo who starts to notice some strange goings on – ornaments that aren’t where she left them, things moving around seemingly of their own accord, accidental hoarding of Battenberg cake – that kind of thing. Desperately to get to the bottom of it, Flo ropes Elsie and several others – most noticeably Miss Ambrose, Handy Simon and the lovely Jack, in to help her unravel the mystery behind the worrying new resident and relieves a lifetime of memories in the process.
A sentimental and engaging read, Three Things About Elsie is both sad and funny. We step through Flo’s life as we watch her try to unravel the mystery of who the new resident at Cherry Tree really is and the author very successfully manages to pass on the confusion of Flo’s slow descent into dementia onto the reader. It’s quite slow progress at times, but that puts you more in Flo’s shoes, and lets you go along at her pace.
I felt that sometimes this book relied a little too heavily on repeating the same phrases, although as you get further through, and Flo’s condition becomes more obvious, it makes more sense as to why. There is a fairly big plot point revealed at the end, and unfortunately I thought it was really obvious and was second guessing it from very early on in the book – which distracted me from the story a little. However if you enjoyed Joanna Cannon’s previous book ‘The Trouble With Goats and Sheep’ as I did, thenI think you’ll also enjoy ‘Three Things About Elsie’.
I would like to thank Harper Collins and Netgalley for giving me an advance copy of this book in return for an honest review.