The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

  • the-things-we-keep-pbTitle:  The Things We Keep
  • Author:  Sally Hepworth
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  352
  • Published: January 2017 – St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Anna Forster is only thirty-eight years old, but her mind is slowly slipping away from her. Armed only with her keen wit and sharp-eyed determination, she knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. But Anna has a secret: she does not plan on staying. She also knows there’s just one another resident who is her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.

Eve Bennett, suddenly thrust into the role of single mother to her bright and vivacious seven-year-old daughter, finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke, she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them. Eve has her own secrets, and her own desperate circumstances that raise the stakes even higher.  (publisher)

My take:  The Things We Keep is an emotional tale about people whose memories have vanished or been taken by events beyond their control. My father-in-law died from complications of Alzheimer’s several years ago so I have a basic understanding of this horrible disease. Sally Hepworth offers another facet of the disease with characters who are in their thirties and battling the loss of memory.

Anna and Luke are two people who’ve been diagnosed with different early forms of dementia. They meet at a residential care facility that is also for elderly who can’t live independently. The story is also about Eve, a recent widow and mother of a seven-year-old daughter, Clementine. Her life turned on a dime when her husband killed himself. She is the new cook at the home. There are several supporting characters – employees of Rosalind House and a few of the residents – whose presence added richness to the story.

The story is beautifully told and one I can recommend to readers – even though the topic of Alzheimer’s can be so off-putting and upsetting. It’s a compassionate novel that made me smile at times and grab for a tissue at other times. I know I’ll be thinking about The Things We Keep for a long time and I look forward to reading more from Hepworth.

Praise for THE THINGS WE KEEP – now available in paperback

“‘For better or for worse’ takes on new meaning in Hepworth’s devastatingly beautiful love story.” – People

“This book is such a page-turner! At the end, we were left full of hope and love.” – Women’s Day

“…an unconventional tearjerker of a love story… poignant and nuanced.” – Publishers Weekly

“With startling insight and intense compassion, Hepworth creates a character who watches her intellectual world implode while at the same time experiencing a new romance. The story is a rare gem.” – Columbus Dispatch

About the author:

Sally Hepworth lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her husband and three children. She is currently working on her next novel.


26 thoughts on “The Things We Keep by Sally Hepworth

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite the sadness of the diagnoses suffered by some of the characters. There was something hopeful about Anna and Luke forming connections, determined to enjoy the bond between them.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I really liked this book too Mary. As you say a difficult topic but so well told, and so emotional. I love books like this that make me think about things I haven’t met – yet!


  3. Good to hear your experience with this one, Mary. Having lost both my parents to complications of Alzheimer’s (Dad) and vascular dementia (Mom), I am well acquainted with the sadness and sorrow that these diseases bring. That being said, there are always bits of light and joy in the journey. I know people find it hard to think about and read about these things, but I really feel that it’s better to be informed. Happily, we can be ‘informed’ by reading stories. Thanks for sharing and I know my library has this book. Might pick it up soon.


  4. I hope to fit this into my reading schedule soon. It does sound like it might be hard at read at times, but I love the idea of Anna and Luke finding each other.


  5. I’ve lost family members to the effects of Alzheimer’s as well and I’m not sure there is a disease more terrifying. This sounds like a gut wrenching but amazing read.


    • I thought the author did a great job blending the disease aspects with the storyline. I enjoyed reading it which I wasn’t sure I would.


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