‘Three Things About Elsie’ – Joanne Cannon

The three things we need to learn about Elsie aren’t explained fully, but we know she’s important to Florence.

Initially I wasn’t sure what was happening with this. An old woman called Florence appeared to be lying on the floor, waiting for someone to discover her. It wasn’t clear what had happened to her, or why nobody had found her. Returning to her during the story we realise she is lying on the floor throughout the five or so hours it takes to cover the narrative.

Alongside the real-time events, we get flashbacks and recounts of the key moments of Florence’s past and slowly come to realise the significance of Elsie.
The story itself focuses on someone unburdening themselves of a secret they’ve held close for years. Unfortunately this secret is also misguided, and we learn events didn’t quite happen as thought. The secret is linked to the presence of a man called Gabriel Price,who bears an uncanny resemblance to a man called Ronnie Butler who Florence knew years ago.

Interspersed with the secret and the details of Florence are a number of characters working in the home that Florence is in. From quite early on, we get signs that Florence is living with dementia, but the significance of this doesn’t really become known until later.

While I preferred Joanne Cannon’s first novel, this was an interesting read and one which certainly made me take a moment to think about how we treat those amongst us who are most in need of help.