The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

Jane Gilley comes to the blog today with a story of hope and change, proving you are never too old for either.

The Woman Who Kept Everything

Gloria is a seventy-something woman, widowed and living on her own in her very cluttered house. So cluttered, in fact, that it’s revealing all of the cracks in her life, her depression and her safety: with a fire starting and her son stepping in to redirect and, as she sees it, control her life. He’s less than altruistic in his motives – she’s always found him difficult, not seen her grandchild in near ten years, and relies on Tisbury, her old friend and boyfriend to run to the shops and manage with her pension cheque. But, Clegg is determined, and with the fire social services have been brought in, moving her to a nursing home for the immediate moment, where she can get some meals more nutritious than the potato soup she’s survived on, and perhaps help her to deal with the depression that appeared as the piles of clutter and her refusal to step outside.

But this is a turning point for Gloria, as she starts to find her old determination, and discovers that her son’s plan is to sell her house and commit her to a care home on a permanent basis. He’s never been particularly attentive, and she’s been at home waiting for hope, and someone or something to alleviate the loneliness she feels and her depression that is exacerbated with the isolation and aging. She’s not going to take it all lying down though as she toddles off to find her own purpose, making new friends, visiting old ones and grabbing for all of the gusto that she found in one short scooter ride away from the care home with Tisdale.

There’s much to be said about the lightness and hope in this story, with most issues able to resolve simply with a cup of tea and a chat – but we all know that nothing is ever quite that simple, and the refrain (however loved and completely British) of how about a cuppa became an oft-repeated refrain, seeming to recycle issues and solutions with a pat response. Oh sure, there’s hope – and Gloria is a wonderfully complex woman as one would expect in her near eighty years on earth, but there was an imbalance that kept me from LOVING the story – even though it was a perfect sort of pick-me-up read when one thinks of being aged and pushed aside for the new and shiny. A story that is higher on hope and light moments than actual substance, it was an enjoyable palate cleanser sort of read when other books or actual life becomes too weighty.


The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

Title: The Woman Who Kept Everything
Author: Jane Gilley
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Humor elements, Satire, Setting: Britain
Published by: Avon Books UK
ISBN: 0008308624
Published on: 3 December, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 304
Rated: three-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo GoogleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

The Lady in the Van meets The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry in this uplifting, funny and moving debut novel about a 79-year-old hoarder who is convinced the world is against her.

79-year-old Gloria Frensham is a hoarder. She lives amongst piles of magazines, cardboard boxes and endless knick-knacks that are stacked into every room of her home, and teeter in piles along the landing and up the stairs.

She hasn’t left the house in years, but when a sudden smell of burning signifies real danger, she is forced to make a sudden departure and leave behind her beloved possessions.

Determined she’s not ready for a care home, Gloria sets out to discover what life still has to offer her. It’s time to navigate the outside world on her own, one step at a time, with just one very small suitcase in tow…

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.


About Jane Gilley

Jane Gilley has previously self-published five children’s books. The Woman Who Kept Everything is her debut adult novel.


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