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.
©2013 Marianne Sciucco (P)2014 Marianne Sciucco
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.
I am a reader-reviewer, and love to help out all authors, especially up and coming authors.
*I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review*
I was curious about this book since I have experience working with Alzhiemer’s patients. I was wondering how accurate the author would portray the disease and wondered how the story was going to go. When I started listening, I was not prepared for the emotions that this book was going to draw out of me. It was so heartwrenching and emotional that I was taken aback. This is such a beautiful love story that really shows what true love is all about. The unconditional, undying, and unrelenting type of love that everyone always dreams of is the type of love that this story has. It is so touching that I cried “ugly tears” several times during this book. I absolutely loved it! Ms. Sciucco portrayed the disease, the person afflicted, and the family of the afflicted so well that I felt like I truly knew these people. It was great. I don’t think that anyone can write a better book that shows what all a family goes through when someone is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The only thing that I wish was done in the book is if the narrator were to have shown emotion consistently. There were chunks of the book where the narrator showed so much emotion, I wondered if she were crying while reading. Then there were chunks where it was literally like she was sitting there reading the book aloud; no emotion, no variations, just sitting there and reading a book aloud. That alone is what made this a 4 STAR book for me, instead of a 5 star.
Blue Hydrangeas is a beautiful and emotional love story. Marianne Sciucoo wrote this sweet book about an elderly man whose wife has Alzheimers. Wanting to care for her at home, but finally realizing that after a while he can't, is heartbreaking for him. Ms. Sciucco portrays this disease in a very realistic manner. Its such a sad disease,and sometimes you see the person that you used to see and you want to hold on to that brief moment in time. This heartfelt story needs to be read by everyone that knows someone with Alzheimers. Elinor Bell did an amazing job narrating this book, giving such emotion to the words. I look forward to more books by both the author and the narrator.
I was given this audio book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
It makes me happy to wake up everyday and look forward to listening. Many times I listen while doing artwork. I find it very relaxing.
"Blue Hydrangeas" was a beautiful story about a horrible disease and undying love.
Sara had been having early signs of Alzheimer's and thought it was old age-itis. She knew she'd been forgetting things even before Jack knew what was happening to her. They were together their whole lives and he became her care-giver.
Although Jack's health was wavering, he still took care of Sara. She was the love of his life. The stress began to take a toll on him but he didn't want her in a care facility. Through the turmoil, they found a way to work things out so they could remain together forever but this audiobook brings up an important topic. Alzheimer's disease. This is an ugly thing that comes and steals your life away. I'm so glad this book was written. I love that Sara painted and the tie-in with the title of the blue hydrangeas. Just lovely.
I think there can never be enough discussion and research done on this. I thank Marianne Sciucco for writing this and I love her writing period. She's a wonderful author. This is a must listen for everyone in my opinion.
Elinor Bell did an awesome job narrating this book. Her voice was amazing with perfect inflections. You could hear the emotion in her tone as well. I know how heartfelt this book was and she really pulled that together. Wonderful book from author and narrator.
"This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of Audiobook Blast."
I am at that half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lol
This is the story of a couple who love each other.They learn the woman has Alzhiemers. A promise is made to always stay together...but is that possible.Narrated with much feeling by Elinor Bell,we come to understand just how hard it is to live and cope with someone with this illness from inside the family.I found the story riveting and realistic.A good read.
"I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast or MalarHouse dot com"
Rabid Listener/Reader and Shopper!
Narration - Elinor Bell - REALLY GOOD! Really!
This is such an incredible book.
I lost my mother in April 2014 to Alzheimers. This book does an exceptional job of portraying, not only what the caregivers go through with this stupid disease, but what the 'diagnosee' is going through as well. The confusion, the fear, the denial, the paranoia. The struggle for caregivers to try to keep the promises that they made to their loved one and the shame (maybe shame isn't the right word), but the desire to hide what's going on from everyone on the outside because you know your loved one would be horrified. The terror you see on their face when you know that they realize what's happening to them and there's nothing that can be done to stop it. The pain when that person no longer knows who you are. The relief when the disease progresses to the point where they no longer realize that they have Alzheimers - so at least you don't have to see that struggle and pain in their eyes and soul anymore.
This is the story of a elderly couple in love, that are bound and determined to stay in their home, stay together, kiss each other good night, wake up next to each other every morning, while they try to navigate this disease. We experience this disease through the eyes of Sara and her husband Jack, but also through the eyes of friends, neighbors, children and grandchildren.
This is a poignant story about the tragic disease called Alzheimers filled with love and loss and it is spot on!
That is all.
This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT
What if 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.
I'll rate this 4 1/2 and round it up to 5 stars.
This is a gentle, tender story of an elderly couple facing the monster that is Alzheimers. The book is filled with flashbacks that are interspersed with the current day story, when Jack is finally faced with the reality that he cannot continue to care for his beloved wife by himself--it's literally killing him.
Through those flashbacks, the reader is able to see the woman Sara had been and understand why Jack worked so hard to convince himself that he could cling to their old way of life. But Alzheimers is a terrible disease that steals away not just the memories of the loved one with it but the person they used to be, all while letting slip in little glimmers of that loved one. Just to enough to tease that she was really still in there. Somewhere.
It's a scary tale for me because my husband's father and several of his aunts and uncle have had Alzheimers. I could be in Jack's position some day. I learned a lot from the story, things I didn't know before, but the "education" I received helped me to understand the disease better. Now I can only pray I won't have to use it first hand.
Blue Hydrangeas is beautifully crafted. The setting was scenic, the pacing perfect, the story poignant. It perfectly describes the unfolding, discovery, and progression of the disease along with its myriad challenges and issues, yet leaves the reader with a sense of hope and a belief in the enduring power of love.
Still Time by Maria Hoagland and Still Alice by Lisa Genova
Her performance is heartfelt, but honestly, a little too slow. The good thing is that with Audible, we can set the speed at a pace perfect for each listener.
A beautiful story.
My favourite character is Jack, his love and devotion to Sara is something everyone would like to think they would get from their partner.
I think that Elinor Bell has a lovely voice, and her soft tones are just perfect.
A story of love and devotion.
Having spent a lifetime together, Sara and Jack, who run a successful bed-and-breakfast called Blue Hydrangeas refuse to acknowledge there may be a problem with Sara, until the time comes when they are forced to face the truth.
When she is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, they are in denial, shocked, yet resolute, they have faced life together united for so long, that they are determined to continue to do so for as long as they can.
However, time takes its toll and after nine years, Jack, is not a well man himself and is finding himself under pressure from family and the medical staff to put Sara in a home, but can he?
This is a poignant love story, beautifully written. If you have ever nursed or known anyone with Alzheimer’s or Dementia this story will bring the memories flooding back. The effects on the loved ones, and family of caring for the sufferers is hard, both physically, and mentally, as they watch their loved ones memories go.
The narrator Elinor Bell has a lovely voice, and her soft tones are perfect, I think, for this story.
This is not a soppy romance, but rather, a true celebration of the love between two people. I have no doubt that it will make you smile, it will undoubtedly make you cry, but, this is an absolutely amazing story and I highly recommend it.
Sad, Beautiful, Heartbreaking
Any which deals with impossible true situations.
Excellent. She brought alive the story as a whole and portrayed the emotion very well.
Coming to terms with the truth.
A beautiful and well written story of a couple faced with Alzheimer's - a cruel and debilitating brain disease.
This is by no means a soppy love story but one of courage and strength and heartbreakingly honest in the way it deals with those tangle emotions.
I actually won this story as an audiobook and will be posting a review for that too - extremely well narrated.
Not wanting to give spoilers, this is a wonderful, insightful and, yes, I will say it again, beautiful story everyone should read /listen.
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