At the time of writing this it is difficult to tell whether today’s book review is a recommendation for something to read in the sunshine or curl up with indoors to shelter from miserable weather. At the time of writing this, this post was also intended for the bank holiday weekend, which might explain the weather chat.
But either way, Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey made its way onto our book club reading list and we would recommend it makes it onto yours as well.
We might be biased, because it was chosen by a member of the Yes Team based on the recommendation of another member of the Yes Team. But if you are looking for a well-written, inciting tale that will both warm your heart and tug at your heart strings, then this is right up your street.
Elizabeth is Missing is a touching story about memory, loss and families:
Maud is forgetful. She makes a cup of tea and doesn’t remember to drink it. She goes to the shops and forgets why she went. Sometimes her home is unrecognisable – or her daughter Helen seems a total stranger.
But there’s one thing Maud is sure of: her friend Elizabeth is missing. The note in her pocket tells her so. And no matter who tells her to stop going on about it, to leave it alone, to shut up, Maud will get to the bottom of it. Because somewhere in Maud’s damaged mind lies the answer to an unsolved seventy-year-old mystery. One everyone has forgotten about. Everyone except Maud…
Because the story is told from a unique perspective, the unreliable narrative of someone suffering from dementia, you can only follow the mystery along with Maud.
Your quest to unravel the mystery is constantly hampered by her unreliable memory, but you warm to her nonetheless and will her on to piece the clues together, to remember more next time, but of course she won’t and that is the harsh reality of Maud’s condition.
As Maud searches for Elizabeth you also glean snippets of information about another mystery that she recalls from her childhood. And that is the true delight of this story, that there is not one but two mysteries to solve. That Maud is as deeply routed in her past, as her memory forces her to be in the present.
Many years before Maud’s sister Suki also disappeared in unexplained circumstances. Each new development in Maud’s search for Elizabeth seems to be have resonance with her sister’s story, and so the two become intertwined.
Some of our book clubbers have family members affected by dementia, and although this meant they perhaps wouldn’t have read it if it hadn’t been our chosen book for the month, some found it to be quite therapeutic in understanding the experiences of their loved ones.
It’s a glittering debut novel from Healey, and certainly one that peaked our interest in reading her next venture – in fact it very nearly received a unanimous thumbs up from the Yes Book Club, 6 out of 7 certainly ain’t bad!
It’s even being made into a TV drama, so before it hits our screens, now is definitely a good time to pick up a copy and devour Maud’s story – so that you can sit back, relax and enjoy the small screen production, and muse over whether the adaptation matches with your own imaginings of the book….