**This book was received as a free advanced reader's copy**
work in elder law. Most specifically, estate planning and trust work.
So I work with the elderly quite a bit. This book tells a story much
different than the clients I work with though. They all have something
they're going to leave behind and someone they want to leave it to.
They are not "silver orphans".
Brooke is involved in her own
world of herself. A drug rep, she's used to the finer things in life.
So when she uncharacteristically befriends an older gentleman by chance,
she's opened up to a life that seems to have been discarded by the rest
of society. And at his death, she's tasked with trying to find his
next of kin and arranging for his funeral and all the other decisions
that happen when someone dies. And finding out his past is a lot harder
than she expects it to be.
I have a problem with the character
of Brooke. The Brooke we see in the first few pages of the book, is not
the Brooke we see everywhere else. There is no way that that character
can be the same person who would take time to befriend an elderly man
and then take care of his arrangements after he dies. Because we have
this nice Brooke happen while he is still alive, then evil Brooke when
she gets the notification that he's dead, and then nice Brooke again
when she's researching his history, it's almost as if she has an out of
body experience. And it's not a believable personality. Maybe she's
supposed to be one of those characters that "grows" in the book, but
that only works if she's awful in the beginning and then progressively
gets better. Having her be an evil little snit for a random part in the
middle of the timeline just didn't work. Frank by contrast is
wonderful. He's very typical of the clients I see come in. They all
have such great stories and the majority a healthy respect for life.
Even though he has hardships, he still perseveres.
did make me sad. The author is correct in calling this a social novel
when it comes to the plight of these Silver Orphans. The elderly who
have no-one to take care of them or even take an interest in their life.
But then the story changes a little bit. An ending that seems too
coincidental, not to mention eliminates much of what we thought about
Frank, kind of ruined the image of Frank for me. I think the "social
novel" aspect of this book would have been better preserved if Frank
stayed the old, impoverished man that Brooke knew. But I suppose the
author wanted a happy ending, and many readers probably do to so I'm
most likely in the minority. I do like how Lancombe got her facts
across accurately and in an interesting way. She had some nice figures
on prices for funeral costs, elder population, and other such things.
It made the book almost have a non-fiction feel to it. But in addition
to those facts it had a few other facts that just seemed kind of random
and out of place, like quoting the origins of holidays and other such
things. Because they were inserted into conversation, it made the fact
giving appear even more forced and I was confused by their use in the
An interesting book and the story of Frank did touch my
heart. I just wish that the character of Brooke could have been more
believable. It kind of sullied what would have been a very good book.
Regardless, it's a good look at a growing problem in society and the way
that our elders are treated. A very solid three stars with the
potential for more and I would read more by this author.