This books follows the main character Maud, an ageing grandmother, who believes that her friend Elizabeth is missing, but no one seems to believe her or take her seriously. Is it because Maud suffers from dementia or is something more sinister going on? 

 

We follow Maud into her descent into dementia. Maud truly believes that her best friend Elizabeth is missing and in danger and tries hard to find out what has happened to her. She has difficulties as she forgets what she knows (she has to write notes to herself to remember), confuses past events with present events, and sometimes fails to recognise those around her. 

 

An astute and insightful novel dealing sensitively (and, at times humorously) with the issue of senile dementia. We witness Maud’s frustrations as she tries to uncover the mystery of the disappearance of Elizabeth, her friend.  We can almost feel her frustration as she attempts to.make others understand her concerns, only to have them dismissed as the ramblings of a confused old woman

For those who have witnessed the progression of dementia in a loved one, the novel captures with amazing accuracy the “light bulb” moments of lucidity (only to be followed by total confusion).

Maud’s determination to solve the mystery of Elizabeth’s disappearance is accompanied by her memories of her older sister who had also vanished many years before without ever being found.

This “ tale within a tale” provides the reader with a glimpse of Maud as a young woman in post war Britain and eventually links very cleverly into the present day mystery.

This novel divided the book group. Some loved it. “One of the best novels I have read for a long time” said one reader.  “A good read, great characters, interesting plot line, funny, poignant, would recommend” said another. However some readers hated it, finding it laborious and boring, and found themselves skipping to the end.

So despite one reader awarding it 10/10, the overall book group score was 4/10. 

A collaborative book review from Gill Capaldi, Sarah Lee and Pat Cassidy March 2018