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The Lilac Notebook


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.

Author: wordsfromanneli

Writing, travel, photography, nature, more writing....

45 thoughts on “The Lilac Notebook

  1. It sounds like an excellent book and a fine review as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. There is a saying somewhere by someone that once a writer sends her book out into the public it no longer belongs to her. The reader
    becomes part of the book. It is a gift and blessing for the author to see that her novel is perceived as she imagined it.
    Thank you, Anneli, for writing such a precise and accurate review of my book. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This sounds like a very interesting read, Anneli. Thanks for the review. I will add it to my growing list of books that I will have time to read starting in November. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Lilac Notebook | In the Net! – Pictures and Stories of Life

  5. It sounds interesting, dear Anneli. We enjoyed reading ‘Small World’ by Martin Suter, another Alzheimer crime story, very much.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Thanks for the great review, Anneli, and Carol’s book sounds really good. I love a gripping nail-biter. Congrats to Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sounds like an interesting thriller and moving all at once. I love the title. Catches the eye. Good luck with the novel, Carol.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Lori. I’m happy that you like the title. It didn’t come to me at first. I had other titles in mind but seeing as the clues to the murder are in Holly’s notebook I thought the title appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Just bought it. Thank you.


  10. Sounds like it is a fantastic read, and a wonderful book to take on a holiday. I love reading by the ocean or by the pool. I think I may need a few Kleenex boxes here and there. Reading your review already got me a little teary. Thanks for the tip!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Reblogged this on Carol Balawyder and commented:
    My gratitude and thanks to Anneli, for posting this on her blog. If you are not familiar with Anneli’s blog have a look at it. She writes amusing poetry about the critters that inhabit her backyard and ALSO she has written amazing novels. And oh, yes, if you are looking for an editor, look no further. ❤ Thank you Anneli for posting this. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A great review of Carol’s book. Shared.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks, Darlene. Much gratitude. ❤ Have a great weekend.


  14. I’m looking forward to Carol’s latest book. It sounds good. Thanks for sharing your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a fabulous review by Anneli. Congrats again Carol. I am looking so forward to reading it. Lovely feature here. Hugs ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I will be buying Carol’s book today and start reading it right after I finish the one I’m reading now. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What a wonderful review, Anneli. I can see why it’s a nail-biter. I like Carol’s ambition in taking on this main character, and it sounds like she nailed it. A beautiful cover too. Congrats to Carol!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Anneli, thanks for sharing this review. When a writer captures the real world with another page, we as readers are walking right along with the very real situations.

    Liked by 1 person

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