It’s been my absolute pleasure to attend several wonderful evenings at Simon and Schuster thanks to Sara-Jade Virtue and TeamBATC where I’ve had the privilege of hearing Santa Montefiore speak and read from her books, but until now I’ve never got round to reading one. I’m delighted to rectify that omission today by sharing my review of Here and Now. My grateful thanks to SJV for providing me with a copy of Here and Now in return for an honest review.
Here and Now is published by Simon and Schuster and is available for purchase here.
Here and Now
Peopled with wonderful characters, it’s funny, sad, poignant and heart-warming, a tough subject tenderly handled. Have some tissues handy’ Choice Magazine
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 . . .
My Review of Here and Now
Marigold keeps forgetting things.
I am absolutely furious with myself for not having read Santa Montefiore before because Here and Now is an absolutely perfect example of women’s fiction and it brought me total joy to read it.
The plot is so deftly handled that each strand combines into a wonderful read. I loved Daisy’s secondary story particularly and was desperate for her to have a happy life of her own but it is Marigold’s narrative that is the most affecting. Touching upon a difficult and emotive subject as Marigold’s condition worsens, Santa Montefiore gives absolute control to Marigold by presenting her thoughts and experiences directly to the reader. We do find how Marigold’s memory loss impacts others, but instead of diluting her experience or presenting it only from the perspective of those around Marigold, instead we get a humane and sensitive insight into how it affects her from her individual experience. I found this approach incredibly touching, very realistic and enlightening. Not only is Here and Now an entertaining story, I think it would bring solace to those whose lives are similarly affected because it allows those like Marigold to retain their dignity and identity and provides some practical tips for their loved ones woven subtly into the story.
There’s a smashing set of characters. I often find community based reads quite tricky to retain each individual in my mind but in Here and Now, each was clear and recognisable. The small feuds that arise in such a setting, the larger (and smaller) than life characters, the gossips and nags, all reminded me so much of the small, landed gentry controlled, villages where I grew up that reading Here and Now, ironically, reignited my own memories.
I loved Marigold’s family. Nan could quite easily be my own mother and I laughed aloud at some of her comments. Dennis was so like my own Dad that I loved him from the very first moment I met him and although it took me a while to warm to Suze, I thoroughly enjoyed her development through the plot. Again, however, it was both Daisy and Marigold who held my attention and my heart throughout.
The theme of duty versus independence in Here and Now had particular resonance for me and I felt comforted and inspired by Santa Montefiore’s words. Marigold’s Dad had a phrase that appears iteratively throughout the story which hit me like a bullet, giving the title of the book incredible resonance. It was as if Santa Montefiore had given me a gift that will take me through my life. Equally affecting were the themes of love and family, friendship, grief and loss. It felt to me as it Hear and Now was a rich, textured read that brought incredible satisfaction.
I found Here and Now an emotional read that touched me deeply. It’s one of those books that those scorning or eschewing women’s fiction should read because Santa Montefiore presents life and humanity with empathy and skill that warms the heart and touches the soul. I loved it and recommend it most highly.
About Santa Montefiore
Born in England in 1970, Santa Montefiore grew up in Hampshire. She is married to writer Simon Sebag Montefiore. They live with their two children, Lily and Sasha, in London.
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.