Can your heart belong somewhere that you’ve never called home?
When Erica gets a phone call to say her mother, Ione, is ill in St Lucia, she knows she must go to her. Though the island – the place of her mother’s birth – is somewhere that Erica has never seen as her homeland.
Even when the plane touches down in the tropical paradise, with its palm trees swaying in the island breeze, the sound of accents so like her mother’s own calling loud in the air, Erica doesn’t find herself wanting to stay a moment longer than she has to.
But stepping into her mother’s house, she is shocked by what she finds. Her mother’s memory is fading, her once-immaculate house is now dirty and messy, and she’s refusing help from anyone but family. And Erica knows she must stay with her, even though it means leaving everything else behind.
What she doesn’t know is that – even as her mother’s memories get worse – Ione still has a final gift for her daughter. Because the unspoken secrets of their past are about to emerge, changing everything Erica thought she knew about her mother, her home, and who she really is…
This was a heartbreaking read about a woman losing her mother to Alzheimer’s. She is also forced to confront painful truths from the past. As someone who had a parent and grandparent with dementia, I know that towards the end they live mostly in the past, and I know the pain of watching a parent forget you. The author lays this story out in a forthright way, without trying to sugarcoat the truth. Caring for a patient with Alzheimer’s/Dementia is incredibly tough, not very pretty, and you need help. Erica’s journey to get to the point where she accepts help, and the decision about what that is going to entail, is a big part of the story. It is also a journey of acceptance–acceptance of the past, and acceptance of a new future.
I found the descriptions of life in St. Lucia and the Caribbean culture interesting and I hope to learn more about it.
I received a free copy of this book from Bookouture via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steffanie Edward was born in St Lucia, brought up in London and now straddles between the two.
Anancy, Crick-crick and other Caribbean folk stories have been a part of her life since childhood. In her late teens she enjoyed reading Susan Howatch and books on slavery. Her absolute favorite reads have been Wild Seed by Octavia E Butler, and Woman At Point Zero by Naawal El Saadawi.
Her writing career started with short stories, five of which have been published. Her first attempt at writing a novel was over twenty years ago, whilst living and working in Abu Dhabi. That novel, Yvette, didn’t make it into print, but the main protagonist, Yvette, has muscled her way into Steffanie’s debut novel, This Other Island.