Here and Now is a multi generational tale, featuring Marigold and her family. Marigold has run the local shop for years but now in her mid sixties is starting to become very forgetful and is very worried about it. She develops various coping strategies and becomes quite adept at hiding her condition. Her daughter Suze lives at home and aspires to be an ‘Instagram influencer’. She is mightily annoyed at the return of her sister Daisy, especially at having to share her bedroom with her. Daisy recently returned from Italy after a break up with her boyfriend. She has ambitions to be a pet portrait artist and is very talented. The final female member of the family is Marigold’s mum, the girls’ Nan, who is rather grumpy most of the time and who finds it hard to cope with seeing her daughter becoming unwell. Marigold’s devoted husband is Dennis and although all the family feature to some extent or another, the focus is firmly on Marigold.
I have read many of Santa Montefiore’s books before and would say that this has rather a different feel to it than some of her others. It is beautifully written but has an undercurrent of sadness about it. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to read this as I thought it might just be too upsetting. But Santa Montefiore draws you into the story and makes you care for her characters. The last few chapters were particularly poignant as we witness Marigold’s decline into dementia.
What made it a book I did want to keep reading though was seeing how Marigold’s family and community rallied round to support her and most importantly to help her to be happy. The book really stresses the importance of living in the here and now and appreciating what you have, as who knows what the future might hold? After all who could have predicted how 2020 would turn out?
One phrase that particularly struck me was when a friend of Marigold’s was talking with her about another friend with Alzheimer’s: “The trick is to make her present moment as contented as possible, because that’s really all she has.” This was something which really touched Marigold and she tried to hang onto this idea for as long as she could. As anyone who has experienced a friend or family member go through this awful condition will know, making the present moment happy is so important.
Here and Now is a very emotional story that will definitely tug at the heartstrings. Alongside the sadness though, what shines through is the love. The love and support of friends, family and community is so important, not only to Marigold in this book, but to all family and carers of those living and loving with dementia.
Thank you to the publishers Simon & Schuster for sending me a copy of this book. Here and Now available in hardback and ebook formats. If you are able, please support an independent bookshop if you buy a copy. Otherwise, you will find buying options for various retailers on the Simon & Schuster website here: Here and Now
From the back of the book
Faced with losing everything, all that matters is Here and Now . . .
Marigold has spent her life taking care of those around her, juggling family life with the running of the local shop, and being an all-round leader in her quiet yet welcoming community. When she finds herself forgetting things, everyone quickly puts it down to her age. But something about Marigold isn’t quite right, and it’s becoming harder for people to ignore.
As Marigold’s condition worsens, for the first time in their lives her family must find ways to care for the woman who has always cared for them. Desperate to show their support, the local community come together to celebrate Marigold, and to show her that losing your memories doesn’t matter, when there are people who will remember them for you . . .
About the author
Santa Montefiore’s books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and have sold more than six million copies in England and Europe. She is the bestselling author of The Temptation of Gracie and the Deverill series, among many others. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London. Visit her at SantaMontefiore.co.uk and connect with her on Twitter @SantaMontefiore or on Instagram @SantaMontefioreOfficial.