Summary: Three Things About Elsie
The book opens with octogenarian, Florence on the floor of her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. Florence’s first person POV storytelling switches between the present and the events of the past month. The book is also borne through a couple of other narrators. The two other narrators — Miss Ambrose, the nursing home’s manager, and “Handy Simon,” the home’s handyman are in third person POV.
Florence is at risk of being sent to Greenbank, a home where Cherry Tree sends deteriorating members. Things get worse for Florence when Cherry Tree admits a new client who looks exactly like someone from her past. The only issue is the person drowned many years ago. Florence, along with her best friend Elsie and a new friend, Jack work to solve the mystery. This is where things get interesting.
Three Things About Elsie has so many components and themes rarely addressed in books I’ve read. I listened to the audio of this book and I loved that the narrator sounded older and British. Florence is an intriguing character and the mystery in this novel will keep you flipping the pages. Author Joanna Cannon has a slow, deliberate style that is hard to ignore.
Something else I enjoyed was the interspersed multiple POVs throughout the book. They break up Florence’s thoughts and allow readers a wider view of Cherry Tree. This book certainly also opens up the world of nursing homes and how older people are treated. There’s neither elder abuse or any disturbing incidences, but the dismissal of geriatric opinion is a thread that runs through the story. Although it makes sense in the end, it’s quite sad how often people shove Florence’s opinions to the side.
Besides the problems of aging, this book tackles mental health issues and examines a wonderful friendship between women. With Miss Ambrose and Handy Simon, it also explores the ways our dreams are shaped by others and how they evolve over time. Most importantly, Three Things About Elsie is chock full of dry British humor — I laughed more times than I could count while listening.Besides the problems of aging, Three Things About Elsie tackles mental health issues and examines a wonderful friendship between women. Click To Tweet
My only issue with this book is that it could have been shorter. It progresses very slowly in the beginning — there’s a lot of setup for the grand reveal. Still, that reveal is not at all overly dramatic and totally WORTH IT.
Overall: Three Things About Elsie
I really enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Three Things About Elsie is a unique exploration of the trials of the elderly and time-defying female friendship with a brilliant dash of mystery. I would highly recommend it for readers who love a character-driven mystery with a sprinkle of history, humor, and heart.Three Things About Elsie is a unique exploration of the trials of the elderly and time-defying female friendship with a brilliant dash of mystery. Click To Tweet
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Have you read this book or anything by Joanna Cannon? What did you think? What are your favorite books by English authors? I’d love to know!