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Publisher's Summary

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.

Eighty-four-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 60 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:

  • The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.
  • There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.
  • Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

©2018 Joanna Cannon (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Charming, wise and profoundly human. I lived every page of this book." (Erin Kelly)
"A warm, wise novel - brilliantly entertaining - that also manages to be a timely and profound take on ageing. I loved it." (Kate Hamer)
"A real treasure from Joanna Cannon's wry and amusing world, where the long view from the day-room is at once poignant and perceptive." (James Hannah)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Disappointed

Story too long and confusing at times. Very depressing and would not recommend it to anyone elderly or depressed. Paula Wilcox however gets my thumbs up as an exceptional reader.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Funny intriguing and lovely

An aged care insight. You will go through all your emotions in one book. Funny sad and delightful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping and thought provoking

A masterfully written novel with unexpected twists and turns told in a truly creative way. It also commands reflection on both the process of aging and the human condition in general.
Brilliantly narrated, the characters were lifted off the page.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Sweet story beautifully told

The narration was just perfect and made the characters come to life wine sensitivity. The story of these characters in a residential home was refreshingly different and I grew to love them. Not sure if it would appeal to young readers but it resonated well for me and illustrated the emotions and complexities of aging, friendship, memories and unfinished business with poignancy. Recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

S C Bates is too young for this book

I always read the negative reviews and if other books I've disliked are mentioned, I do shy from buying the book. In this instance I am so glad that I bought the book. I've laughed out loud. I've cringed. I know every single person in this book. They live in my neighbourhood. Our children and grandchildren are the same ages.

I've reached, not middle age, not old age, but the Age of Guess Who or the Age of Charades. The differences in memory of a group of people about the same single incident not only come in each person's telling but also in each person's telling each day. And usually the differences are accompanied by laughter. I just love living in the world of Guess My Next Word. It Fled While I Was Getting To It.

S C Bates, I understand your dislike of this book. I'm sad to report that one day you will realise that you simply are too young for this book. Now.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A delight

I loved this book so much I immediately started listening again - and I’ve never listened to a book twice.
The writing is delightful, and it’s such a gorgeous handling of the characters and their concerns.
The story is engaging - almost too much so, as I often struggled to stop listening when I needed to do something else.
The narration is so well done that you don’t stop to think about it, which is exactly what I want in an audio book.
Highly recommended

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun time with new friends

I did enjoy this story very much. I read in one of the reviews I read before I purchased the book, the reviewer said that they would miss pending time with Florence, Elsie and the gang at Cherry Tree Home. I have to agree, they became like friends and I look forward to hearing what they had been up to. Lots of fun and a well constructed story line.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Some beautiful pictures painted but...

Gorgeous performance but unfortunately, the story was painfully predictable and long. Within the first few minutes I knew what the third thing about Elsie was and I continued in hope that I was being double bluffed. Again, some beautiful imagery painted by clever use of words, but not enough to counter the length or predictability of the story overall

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Slow to start but great finish

Really slow starting off but with while to keep reading. There is a great twist and overall lovely story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The best book of 2017!

The most beautifully written, sensitively narrated, poignant and wonderful book that tells a life lived with love and secrets - and fading into old age. Five stars!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • SalES
  • 30-01-2018

A lovely read/listen

Knowing a little about old ladies with Dementia it so rang true.

Joanna Cannon capture all the little things, the minutia.
Florence's character was so believable as was Elsie's and Jack's.

The plot twisted and turned and kept me engaged. The description of Whitby, brilliant.

I listened to this book - Paula Wilcox read it beautifully.

Finally I would like to think there is a Simon in every care home

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Molly brown
  • 16-01-2018

My long second

I truly love this book, it is written with such sensitivity and insight. The characters are treated with care and respect.
I spent many years nursing older people with acute mental health illness, and this reminds me so much of those times when I've tried to unpick the seeds of reality from distressing delusional ideas.

18 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Patreesha
  • 17-01-2018

Utterly Brilliant

I started listening to this book because I needed something light to listen to. It is utterly brilliant as my heading says. I never would, nor did I, have guessed the ending in a zillion years. I really loved this book from the very first page until the last page.

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mrs joann dunseith
  • 25-01-2018

Wow

Great read with a twist. Gripping to the end . Insight how dementia effects peoples lives

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sheila Morrison
  • 20-02-2018

Another excellent story

Joanna Cannon has done it again !I loved this book every bit as much as her first book .Florence is such a plucky character and you will her to be believed .
It was a poignant glimpse into the lives of the elderly but not without warmth or humour, at times it was hilarious and then it made me cry .All the while hoping the right result would emerge Just fabulous .

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-01-2018

An Extraordinary Life

Gentle and humorous tale of an old lady revisiting events in her mind! This is an engaging story about ordinary people and how events can mould their lives! Really enjoyed this well read story! Paula Wilcox adds empathy to her reading! A good listen!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kaggy
  • 20-03-2018

Witty and touching but at a very slow pace

I loved Joanna's goats and sheep book and hoped that this one would also have her fantastic eye for detail and the poetry of everyday language. To a certain extent it does, and some of the passages are a joy to listen to, but unfortunately the pacing was very slow and meandering. To be honest I found myself drifting away from the story on more than one occasion and thus some elements of the plot confused me. I also found some of the surprise twists were very obvious. Paula Wilcox is a wonderful narrator, and she can't be faulted here, but overall The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, with its unashamed and joyous nostalgia, was a far more enjoyable experience.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Cabaspre
  • 30-03-2018

The most beautifully observed book!

I am so glad my daughter told me to read this! This isn't just a book with some witticisms about old people. Almost every phrase, sentence or word is picked very very deliberately. It makes you want to read out bits to anyone standing around. A lovely tale beautifully narrated. I recommend it to everyone but would also love schools to have it on their reading lists. Well done to the author and also to Paula Wilcox the narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • kathleen vyse
  • 20-02-2018

Boring!

The plot of this book was very weak and was stretched out so much that it became very tedious to read. I didn't want to finish it because the secrets of the main character were so unimportant that I didn't care what they were. It was a shame that the book made references to age and memory loss and boredom of the elderly and yet it certainly didn't improve that image with the use of stereotyping.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstyn B.
  • 26-01-2018

Fantastic

A very well written story that is told by the perfect actress for the role.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful