Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

A Long Goodbye – Anthony Le Moignan

Contemporary Fiction
4*s

A Long Goodbye is contemporary romance novel set in the somewhat unusual setting of a care home in Cambridge.

Simon is an accountant, a successful one. He’s sporty with a love of running, not just the taking part but watching other athletes and reading the magazines as well as challenging himself to beat his personal best. He’s funny, good-looking and he has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease. He is just forty years old and faces the challenges ahead with fortitude and a sense of humour.

Emma works at Orchard Care Home, a residential home that usually houses the elderly who need to have the love and support of their professional team. Emma is married to a man she met earlier in her caring career, she’s now managing the home but keeps her hand in with the patients. Her husband Michael has meanwhile risen through the ranks and now works away for much of the time which combined with the lack of a much-wanted baby has left their marriage much in need of some tender care.

Readers of my blog will know that romance, unless combined with history, is not my usual genre but underneath it all, I do have a soul. I chose to read this book after being contacted by the author who is a local man and alighted on the fact that sales of A Long Goodbye are raising funds for funds raised for both the Jersey Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s Society. So many of us will have experienced the hard realities of dementia, it is indeed often a long goodbye, one where both the sufferer and those that love them lose pieces of the very essence of the person bit by bit. And unless you’ve been on a tour of care homes as I had to do for my mother, you might have a preconceived idea of what they have to offer. I’m not going to lie, I did visit one or two that smelled of wee and had a bunch of women parked in chairs in front of a TV, but there were far more who had put a real effort into providing a homely atmosphere whilst providing the facilities required for those who are sadly beyond the outings and fun and I could recognise aspects of this in Orchard Care Home. It is a positive shout-out too for those who staff these homes and provide all manner of support to their patients and their families alike.

Anthony Le Moignan’s book is based on facts, his father suffered with Alzheimer’s, and so while he creates a story that pulls at those heart-strings, he doesn’t use his fiction to create either a totally unrealistic portrayal of this cruel disease but nor is it in any way sensationalist. The story is lovely, the characters a wide variety from the obviously kind and caring Emma to a real doozy of a money-grabbing woman who makes an unwelcome appearance during the story. I was worried that A Long Goodbye would be too saccharine sweet for my tastes, but it wasn’t, far from it, I actually found it to be a thoughtful novel, with many of those truths that I suspect we all look for within the books we read and no, these are not all specifically related to the Alzheimer angle. The story moves along at a pace with some tender moments that bought a tear to my eye so have the hankies at the ready!

A well-written novel that explores love from a variety of perspectives and yet balances this with some genuinely funny moments with a real feel for the characters. A great debut and I for one will be looking to see what the author comes up with next.

First Published UK: 7 May 2018
Publisher: Self Published
No of Pages: 302
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Author:

A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

11 thoughts on “A Long Goodbye – Anthony Le Moignan

  1. I’m not usually much of a one for a romance, either, Cleo. But this one seems to have a good deal more to it than just ‘boy meets girl.’ It sounds as though it’s also a realistic exploration of living with Alzheimer’s, whether you have it or someone you care about does. And what a great cause, too. I’m glad you found it to be such a good story.

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  2. As someone who visits a care home on a twice weekly basis, I fear this novel would be just a bit too close to reality for me. Great review though – and I wish the author every success.

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  3. I’m so glad to read more about your experience with this book. I’ll admit that based on your earlier mention, I went and purchased it. I said then that books that deal with Alzheimer’s/dementia are ones that I often read – though not when I was experiencing this with both of my parents. I liked being able to have books to point others to as they make that journey with family and friends. Anyway, so delighted to know that part of the proceeds will go to causes that support Alzheimer’s research, etc. And my folks were both at homes that were so well done for their residents. We checked out a number of them, but I was happy to know that they were both safe and as content as they could be at that hard time. Again, thanks Cleo for featuring this book. I’ll be more than happy to read it.

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  4. What an unusual setting for a romance. Also interesting is the connection with Alzheimer’s.
    Care homes and Alzheimer’s are anathema to romance stereotypes. It’s a brave author indeed to write this book, I really don’t think I would dare!

    Shona

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