The Things We Keep

Sally Hepworth (The Secrets of Midwives) delivers a beautiful, moving story with thoughtful grace in The Things We Keep.

Only 38, Anna has early-onset Alzheimer's. After she causes an accident that burns her five-year-old nephew, she voluntarily goes into assisted living. Understandably embittered by the turn her life has taken, Anna is surprised when she and Luke, another patient with early-onset dementia, find a connection that she thought she'd never feel again. But can Anna and Luke cling to their love, even as their memories of each other slip away?

Eve, whose husband's Ponzi scheme just collapsed with devastating results, is humiliated to have to take a job as a cook and cleaner in an assisted living facility. But Eve soon discovers unexpected hope as she's cooking meals and scrubbing floors. She finds Anna and Luke's love so compelling that she's willing to do anything to help them, even at the cost of alienating their families and hurting her own.

A lovely novel about the depth of memory, The Things We Keep may leave very few readers with dry eyes. It's told in flashbacks and present-day snippets alternating from Anna and Eve's perspectives, allowing the reader to see Anna's mental deterioration first-hand as she starts to use phrases like "sleeping bench" (after she forgets the word bed). Sweet and sad, The Things We Keep is a testament to the endurance of love. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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