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…
Heart-warming and poignant in equal measure, this is a story about the loneliness of life, the struggles of growing old, the power of kindness, and the bravery it takes to leave our comfort zones.
** Praise for The Woman Who Kept Everything **
‘Without a doubt, readers will be charmed by the many colourful characters and their relationships with each other, as well as where life takes Gloria next.’
‘This delightful book will enchant any reader who has a soul.’
‘Fans of A Man Called Ove and Three Things About Elsie will find comfortable, enjoyable ground here.’
‘It would make a great and inspired book club read.’
‘A beautiful, charming, witty story’
‘This is a novel that perhaps we all need to read. It is a realistic look into aging with humour and some sadness, that all too many often forget to see.’
‘A lesson on how to live life!’
‘Oh Gloria Frensham, what a fabulous ride you gave us on your adventures in this book. I suspect this will turn out to be a film and very much on a par with Lady in the Van.’
** Praise from NetGalley reviewers **
‘It is a feel good hug of a book with wonderful relatable characters and a storyline that will make you smile from ear to ear. Absolutely delightful.’
‘I loved this book. It’s an easy read, and the characters are relatable, but the message – essentially carpe diem – is deep. Highly recommended.’
‘Such a beautifully written novel’
‘If you enjoyed reading A Man Called Ove and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you will definitely like this book. It touches on a huge spectrum of topics, not just focusing on what you would imagine by its title.’
‘An endearing "coming out of hibernation" story – as opposed to a coming-of-age story!’
‘I grew to love the characters like they were real people and I’ll miss reading about them.’
About the author
Jane Gilley was born in Nottingham and now lives on the beautiful island of Jersey with her husband, a rabbit and a Senegal parrot. Following a career in Interior Design, she now writes full-time.