It’s book two time!
Three things about Elsie was chosen for our second book and I am so happy that we did go with this book. It’s one of those books that I know will stay with me for a very long time. Vanille and I met up and had lunch at the Florist whilst we discussed the book and what we thought.
The description of this book was intriguing enough to make me want to read it, whilst not really giving away too much. I liked that there was an air of mystery to the book, and I was very interested to learn more about Florence and her friend Elsie. The book opens with our main protagonist Florence having fallen over, she is 84 years old, so she is not able to get up by herself. Florence starts to wonder who will find her, and whilst waiting she starts to wonder if she will ever share her secret that she has always kept to herself. From this point on we are introduced the people in Florence’s world as she lives life at Cherry Tree Home for the elderly. It is early on in the book that a strange man arrives, and Florence is convinced he is a man from her past, the only catch is that the man she is thinking of, died sixty years earlier.
This is a book that explores so much. Mystery, friendship, exploring what happens as we age and allows the reader to question their own life choices and maybe even secrets we ourselves keep. Initially, I wasn’t sure how I felt about Florence. Though I liked her, she did also seem a little annoying, I could see why her and Elsie became friends however, as they are in many ways a little Yin and Yang. That being said, Elsie doesn’t always sympathise enough with Florence in her theory about who the mystery man can be. As you delve in deeper to the story and as Florence begins to unfold the details of this secret past, you also start to understand her so much more. As I got through more of the book, I really loved the friendship between Elsie, Florence and their other friend Jack. Though well into their 80’s, they give you hope that whether living with family or living in an elderly home, there is life to be lived, chances to still rebel and connect with people. The elderly have always had a little place in my heart and this book has just made that piece so much bigger.
I did enjoy the writing style of Cannon, though I did think there were elements of the story that were not necessary. Without giving too much away, there were small elements in which Florence had connected with people, or was in some way linked to them in her past and somehow finds them along the way in her later years, alomost coming full circle in some ways, which I liked to a certain point, but could verge on being a little unrealistic. Along with that, the only other real criticism I could find, would be how the book ends. Not because it is a bad ending, but it’s just that I wanted more and couldn’t let go of what happens next for some of the characters and where it left things. However, I think when a book leaves you wondering what next and inspires you to carry on wondering where the characters go next, that says something about the world the author has created. Joanna has created a beautiful world, that may seem simple, taking place in an elderly home, but offers so much love, depth, understanding and hope within it.
I laughed along with Elsie and Florence, I cried more than once reading this book and since finishing it, I just notice things about people more than I did and haven’t stopped thinking about it since I put it down. By the end of this book you are truly rooting for Florence and are on the edge of your seat to see what the secret is and what happened ‘that night’. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I think it’s the perfect read for everyone to experience how it is to grow older, whether you have relatives at the age currently or even if it’s just to see life through someone else’s eyes. I know I certainly look at elderly people with a fresher understanding and with far more appreciation.
This book completely touched me and in many ways, broke my heart, as well as warming it. Pick up a copy of this book, or download it on your kindle, trust me you will not regret it. I will leave you with a quote from the book, that really touched me.
Book rating – 9/10
Recommend – Yes
Read again– I would, if my heart can take it.