You won’t want to miss this one. Carol Balawyder’s latest novel is something unique.
Here is Carol and a little bit about her.
Carol’s academic training is in English Literature and Criminology. She studied criminology so as to bring credibility to the crime novels she wanted to write.
These days Carol is retired from her teaching post of supervising and teaching criminology to college students. She has been busy as a volunteer, visiting Alzheimer’s patients. She brings along her little dog, Bau. One of the patients, Doris, especially loved spending time with Bau. The sweet relationship they developed is reproduced in Carol’s latest novel.
The Lilac Notebook is a study of the decline of a young woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s.
Doris had lost her ability to speak. Ms. Balawyder used this as a focal point of the murder investigation in which her fictional character, Holly is accused, but unable to defend herself.
Her main character Holly, is partly based on Doris and her relationship with Bau.
My Review of The Lilac Notebook.
Carol Balawyder’s novel, The Lilac Notebook, left me thinking of the plight of one of her characters for many days afterwards. Although it is a crime story, it is different from every other one I’ve read, because Holly, the main character, has early onset Alzheimer’s.
Her husband has never loved her, and now that she has this debilitating disease, she knows that he will find her a burden. She makes the decision to leave before it gets too bad, signs up for a college course and makes friends with two women who will entangle her in a murder mystery.
We learn in detail of her challenges as Alzheimer’s symptoms manifest themselves. In some cases, Alzheimer’s patients lose the ability to speak. They can still hear and reason, but find it difficult to respond. Sometimes the right word is hard to find, and increasingly it becomes more difficult to speak.
After a second murder takes place in their part of the city, Holly and her friends fear for their safety. Holly is haunted by clues she tries to put together, and suspects that the killer may be somehow connected to them. Her speech is becoming difficult, so she records as much as she can remember in her lilac notebook.
When one of her friends suggests that possibly it is Holly herself who is doing the killing, she is in turmoil because her memory has been failing her more and more. She wonders if her friend could be right. Perhaps Holly did kill those people and she just doesn’t remember it.
I was particularly impressed by the way Ms. Balawyder weaves in the details of Holly’s advancing Alzheimer’s in such a compassionate way. We are made to feel Holly’s fears, trepidation, confusion, and frustration as “the plot thickens” and her disease becomes more debilitating.
Real life still happens to people with Alzheimer’s, but we rarely have a chance to look inside the heads of people who suffer from it. With the murder mystery entertaining us, we empathize with Holly’s plight as she tries to solve the murders even while she is implicated in the deeds.
A well-researched nail-biter of a story.
You can purchase The Lilac Notebook at:
While you’re there, check out her “Getting to Mr. Right” series.
Please feel free to reblog this post and help Carol to spread the word about her wonderful new novel.