What if, after a lifetime of marriage, the person who knew you best and loved you most forgot your face, and couldn't remember your name? A nursing facility is everyone's solution for what to do about Sara, but her husband, Jack, can't bear to live without her. He is committed to saving his marriage, his wife, and their life together from the devastation of Alzheimer's disease. He and Sara retired years ago to the house of their dreams, and operated it as a Cape Cod bed and breakfast named Blue Hydrangeas.
Jack has made an impossible promise: He and Sara will stay together in their beautiful home no matter what the disease brings. However, after nine years of selfless caregiving, complicated by her progressing Alzheimer's and his own failing heart, he finally admits he can no longer care for her at home.
With reluctance, he arranges to admit her to an assisted living facility. But, on the day of admission, Sara is having one of her few good days, and he is unable to follow through. Instead, he takes them on an impulsive journey to confront their past and reclaim their future. In the end, he realizes that staying together at any cost is what truly matters.
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Powerful love story that resonates with emotion
Narrator Elinor Bell tells this story with a delicate balance of compassion, realism and objectivity that enables the listener to empathize with Jack and Sara without getting bogged down in the horrific devastation wrought on those faced with Alzheimer's. My father was diagnosed with AD in his early 50s and lived with the diagnosis for 18 years. Knowing firsthand how painful AD can be, I was almost reluctant to experience this story. While there are sharp emotional moments that triggered my own grief and loss, the narrator's gentle but honest style kept me moving forward with the story. Readers who have experienced AD will be reminded of the strength, hope and love that enables them (us) to cope with Alzheimer's.
Author Marrianne Sciucco's portrayal of Sara is true to life - The angry outbursts directed toward Jack, her fear, her confusion, the rare "good days". Sara is not depicted as good or bad or even a victim; she is just a person affected by a disease that impacts not only cognitive abilities, but emotions and behavior.
There are no easy answers when it comes to dealing with Alzheimer's. Different families have different needs and resources that result in different decisions for each. Blue Hydrangeas is a compassionate and honest portrayal of how AD impacts couples, families and friends. While there is no miracle cure or miraculous healing (although I found myself wishing something like this would happen for Jack and Sara), this story captures the power of real-life love, hope and courage.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.
- Kindle Customer