Three Things About Elsie

by Joanna Cannon

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LoveReading View on Three Things About Elsie

January 2018 Book of the Month

Abundant in moving insights into identity and memory, this charming slice of humanity is as elegantly formed and sweetly satisfying as the Battenberg cake depicted on its cover.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence (Flo to her best friend Elsie) has fallen in her flat and, as she awaits help, wondering whether she’s “reached the end of her story”, her musings reveal a long-buried secret. “Everyone’s life has a secret, something they never talk about,” she remarks. “It’s what you do with your secret that really matters”, and what Elsie does with hers is determined by the unlikely reappearance of a man from her and Elsie’s past.

Florence’s reflections on she how hasn’t done enough with her life, how life takes you down paths you hadn’t intended to wander, are wholly heartrending. She wanted to be a scientist, to devise a world-changing invention, but instead she and Elsie ended up in a factory for the entirety of their working lives. While there’s loss and sadness as the twisting tale unfolds, this is also a tonic for the soul - upliftingly wistful, poignantly funny, and the relationship between Flo and Elsie is wonderful. At once a bittersweet ode to the elderly and the passing of time, and a compelling mystery, this proves that sometimes it’s entirely appropriate to judge a book by its cover. I adored it.    Joanne Owen

Joanne Owen

Three Things About Elsie Synopsis

84-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 a man who died sixty 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:

1) The fine threads of humanity will connect us all forever.

2) There is so very much more to anyone than the worst thing they have ever done.

3) Even the smallest life can leave the loudest echo.

Three Things About Elsie Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

Secrets, friendship and love #ThreeThings Full review

Nikki Whitmore

Joanna's style of writing is original and poetic. I have sat and read it from cover to cover, only stopped to sleep and eat! A wonderful book, one I am happy to recommend anyone to read. Full review

Marjorie Lacy

This is a sad book - not "cry-your-heart-out-and-be-done-with-it" sad, but a sadness that is more subtle, small tragedies that hide inside bigger ones, but that are ultimately more difficult to bear. Full review

Sabine Little

Quite simply, this is up there with the very best of books I have ever read. It’s fun, engenders melancholy, thought provoking and totally unputdownable. Full review

Phylippa Smithson

Deeply poignant and always honest, this delightfully bittersweet novel is life affirming and uplifting. Full review

Emily Wright

A story that will touch your heart. Full of characters who seem so real you could just imagine them sitting next to you. Full review

Nicola Lowes

I really enjoyed this book and the characters and all the questions and dilemmas it threw up. Read and enjoy! Full review

Carol Attridge

Remarkable story told with great writing and emotion. Getting old and being young at the same time. A beautiful story. Full review

Jane Brown

An interestingly written mystery about love, loss, forgiveness and growing old that is great to read during the special reflective time in the New Year. Full review

Charlotte Walker

If you have to read only one book in 2018, make it this one. Full review

Sarah Harper

When a secret from the past resurfaces, Florence’s friends help her unlock the mystery in this gentle, moving novel about ageing, friendship, memory, identity... and the ripples our lives make. Full review

Kathy Eastman

This book is still told with the same warmth and charm as the debut, and shows the power, strength and humanity of what binds friends together over a lifetime, through the bad and good times. Full review

Katie Hoare

The author writes in a straightforward, unpretentious style, with great insight and sensitivity, not only for those experiencing old age and loss of memory but for everyone caught up in life-changing events they would rather forget. Full review

Sue Broom

A delightful jigsaw where you need to pay attention to all the details to see the whole. Full review

Cathy Peterson

There was many times I had a lump in my throat reading this beautiful story , it’s a must read! Full review

Edel Waugh

Three Things About Elsie Press Reviews

Praise for The Trouble with Goats and Sheep:

`A splendid debut ...Forensic period detail and pithy exchanges between characters give the novel the feel of a Seventies sitcom ...a wonderful achievement'  Daily Mail

`Cannon specialises, beautifully, in making concrete the abstract ... a superior debut' Sunday Times

`Vibrant and funny...imagine Donna Tartt's The Secret History, set in 1970s English suburbia' Guardian

`Successfully capturing the claustrophobia of suburban life... Cannon paints a sympathetic and nuanced portrait of society's misfits'   The Independent

`Beautifully written'  Daily Express

`Sweet, nostalgic and funny' Sun on Sunday

`Wry, acutely observant and brilliantly claustrophobic'  Mail on Sunday

`Fresh and vivid, this intriguing debut is a perceptive coming-of-age tale'  Sunday Express

`A unique and unforgettable debut'  Wall Street Journal

`A very special book that makes us think about ourselves and others more deeply ... a terrific pageturner'  Nathan Filerbr

`An utter delight. Perceptive, funny, dark, moving. And so beautifully written. I loved it'
Sarah Winmanr  

`A quirky, moving and beautifully written tale of suburban life in 1970s Britain, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is a delight from start to finish'  Paula Hawkins

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008196912
Publication date: 11/01/2018
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008196912
Publication date: 11th January 2018
Author: Joanna Cannon
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 464 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction, Reading Groups, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Joanna Cannon

Joanna Cannon graduated from Leicester Medical School and worked as a hospital doctor, before specialising in psychiatry. She lives in the Peak District with her family and her dog. The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is her first novel.   Below is a Q&A with this author Borough Press’ Charlotte Cray interviews debut author Joanna Cannon about her beloved characters in The Trouble with Goats and Sheep and what it is about writing that sparks her mind and her heart.1.    Your child narrator Grace is distinct and charming, and in her best friend Tilly ...

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Cover for The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon
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