Thursday, 21 December 2017

Three Things About Elsie - Joanna Cannon


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 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.


What an unusual read this book is, so many facets to it and running through it a little whodunnit too. It's not often I read a book and think I'm so glad I got to read this story - but this is one of those books.

The book opens with Florence aged 84 lying on the floor of her flat wondering if anyone is going to find her. She begins to recount events from her life over the past 60 years and more recently at the Home for the Elderly that her flat is a part of. From time to time the narration leaves the events and comes back to the present day and Florence who is still lying on the floor.

Throughout the book we meet the people in Florence's life - of course Elsie, the people who work at the home and various other characters that she encounters through little jaunts. The description of her time in Whitby was wonderful. I know Whitby fairly well and I could tell the author did too, I was there with Florence and her friends walking along seeing what they saw in glorious colour.

The plot construction is marvellous but to say would give too much away as there is more than one secret to uncover in this utterly enchanting read - a glimpse into seeing things through someones older eyes.
You don't just get to see things through Florence's eyes though. There is also Simon the Handyman who makes discoveries of his own about his life and Miss Ambrose who has probably been on a course for whatever life throws at her, except her own life!

So many beautifully written and evocative sentences too. My favourite was "three generations of women balance their lives on top of each other, like tiers on a wedding cake". The battenburg cake on the cover is also a charming but sad part of the story too.

I could go on and on about this book, but really you just need to read it for yourself.

I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars. My thanks go to Netgalley for an advance copy of the book which is out on 11 January 2018.

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