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…


My Thoughts: Gloria was a delightful character, even while she was surrounded by her hoards of possessions. I liked her feisty and stubborn ways, which helped her deal with what happened after her domineering son Clegg removed her from the house, set her up in a nursing home, and then planned to discard her, along with her possessions.

But Gloria found a way to turn life’s lemons into lemonade, and it was so inspiring to follow her along as she found her own way in her new reality.

My favorite parts: when she recovered her “voice” and told Clegg off, I was cheering.

I kept turning the pages of The Woman Who Kept Everything as Gloria rediscovered adventure and developed her own plan for her future. I liked that, despite having lost many of her friends, there were still a few who were there for her.

As a senior citizen, I love discovering how people who have been tossed aside by their families find a way to reinvent themselves. It helps if they are basically healthy and have a pension. A clear-minded persona can rise from the depression and move forward. Cheers to Gloria!

On the downside, the changes in Gloria came about from a startling incident that forced her to look at her life. Her moving forward happened rather quickly, but I enjoyed the process nevertheless. Sometimes we do want life to be like a movie, solved within a two-hour period. So, despite these minor “flaws,” I thoroughly enjoyed Gloria’s journey. 4 stars.***


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