Today, I’m delighted to participate in Christoph Fischer’s blog tour in celebration of the recent release of TIME TO LET GO. But before I describe this emotional and moving book, I would like to introduce you to the author. Christoph is a talented historical writer, a supportive cheerleader to other authors, and an all-around great guy I’m happy to call a friend, albeit we haven’t met in person.
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to a small hamlet near Bath in the UK, where he is still resident today. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.
TIME TO LET GO
TIME TO LET GO is a contemporary family drama set in Britain. More than that, it is a tribute to Christoph’s brave aunt and to the wonderful people who make her life dignified and as happy as possible.
Following a traumatic incident at work, Hanna Korhonen decides to take time off work and spend quality time with her elderly parents in rural England. There, she finds that neither can she run away from her problems, nor does her family provide the easy getaway place she had hoped for. Her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and, while being confronted with the consequences of her issues at work, Hanna and her family are forced to reassess their lives.
The story centers around Biddy, Hanna’s mother. Once a vibrant and intelligent woman, the loving glue that held the family together, Biddy has fallen prey to Alzheimer’s Disease. When Hanna arrives home, she finds Biddy reduced to being treated like a young child by her devoted and stressed-out caregiver, Hanna’s father. Biddy does not recognise her children, but responds positively to them. Thanks to her endearing, child-like qualities she still manages to find comfort and happiness in her days through love of music, nature, and animals, as well as guilty pleasures such as hot chocolate and flapjacks.
The book takes a close look at family dynamics and at human nature in a time of a crisis. The family’s challenges, individual and shared, take the Korhonens on a journey of self-discovery and redemption.
Walter decided not to wait for Hanna’s return. She was supposed to have been gone for only a few hours but had not showed up yet. Knowing his daughter, anything was possible. He was eager to move the day along so that he and Biddy could watch an entire film before his wife would get tired and fall asleep. He had shortlisted several films which he thought his wife might enjoy but he could not make up his mind. After the last few evenings where Hanna had entertained her mother with silly musical movies he felt inclined to make a similar choice, but was not confident that he was the right company for Biddy to watch those films with. Would another musical like ‘Chicago’ be of any use, without Hanna there to cheer Biddy on?
In the end he settled for ‘The Philadelphia Story’, a classic screw ball comedy that Biddy had always loved, not least for its leading actors. The story line might intellectually be a little too demanding for his wife but it had enough slapstick moments to promise a pleasant evening.
Unfortunately Hanna came home early, before her parents had managed to settle into the film. Instantly distracted and excited by her daughter’s arrival, Biddy got up and paid no more attention to the TV.
Walter tried to set his wife up for telling the story about the swans and the dogs, but that memory was gone.
“Swans? You are talking a lot of nonsense today,” she said to Walter. “There are no swans here.”
“Not now,” Walter tried, unwilling to give up without further efforts to regain a memory for his wife. “We just went to the lake. The same as yesterday when you went to the lake with Hanna. The dog that chased the swans? That happened only two hours ago!”
“Daddy, you are upsetting her now. Leave her be,” Hanna said.
“Pumpkin, I can’t just sit back and let the disease take everything away from our life without a fight,” Walter said forcefully. “Sometimes you need to fight back. Biddy still has moments of clarity, she needs to try and remember. We need to challenge her. That swan and dog thing happened twice, that should stick somewhere in her grey matter.”
Biddy said nothing now and just stared sheepishly at the floor.
“What did you see at the lake?” Walter probed his wife.
“A lake? Oh my. But it is dark now!” Biddy protested.
“We are not going to a lake,” Walter said impatiently. “We already went this afternoon. The swans? The dog chasing them? Remember?”
“Swans,” Biddy said, nonsensical. “Swans, ha!”
“This afternoon I took you to the lake, Biddy. There was a dog chasing the swans,” Walter repeated, a bit more patient and encouraging.
“Yes, Biddy. A swan and a dog. By the lake.”
“No, no, no,” Biddy said confused and shook her head. Her eyes looked fearful.
Hanna was quite shocked at the extreme disorientation her mother so suddenly displayed. “I think you need to leave her alone,” she said quietly to her father. “You are getting her all worked up.”
“Dammit! Why can’t she simply remember?” He slammed his fist on the table and paced around the room.
“I told you many times,” he said pointedly. “You had a run of very lucky days as far as her illness is concerned. Since you got here she has been in great shape, but there are phases where it is really bad, just like this. She makes no sense at all now, does she?”
“If you know that, why are you pushing her? You are just aggravating her instead of reassuring.”
“As I said, I am trying to get a rise out of her,” Walter explained.
“Yes you are right, she has withdrawn now. But I owe it to her as her partner to try, maybe once snap her back to reality, at least give it a good shot. Look at her, she doesn’t seem there. I can’t always watch and accept it, that would be giving up.”
Here is a small sampling of the many 5-star reviews this book has received:
★★★★★ “… a truly wonderful, brave story.”
★★★★★ “… this emotional story will stay with you.”
★★★★★ “…This is a well-crafted story with believable characters that keeps the readers enthralled on a highly emotional and intellectual level—definitely a must read.”
★★★★★ “…This story has depth and personality as the characters come alive on the pages.”
My ★★★★★ review of TIME TO LET GO can be found at http://www.amazon.com/review/RP9S7Q21AAKTW and goes like this:
When I first learned the topic of TIME TO LET GO, I was hesitant to read it because it touched a little too close to home. I am so glad I overcame my reluctance. This book is a touching account of one family’s beloved wife and mother sinking deeper into Alzheimer’s. I particularly related to the husband and father who, although loving, grew more controlling, as if rules and a rigid schedule could hold the chaos of his beloved wife’s disease at bay.
I highly recommend TIME TO LET GO. It is a family drama that catches hold of you and makes you want to keep on reading. Christoph Fischer has tackled a heart-wrenching subject with warmth and moving sensitivity. Five stars all the way.
Christoph Fischer’s Books
TIME TO LET GO:
On Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00K9G8M8
On Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21947533-time-to-let-go
THE LUCK OF THE WEISSENSTEINERS (Three Nations Trilogy Book 1)
On Goodreads: http://bit.ly/12Rnup8
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1bua395
On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-luck-of-the-weissensteiners-christoph-fischer/1113932211?ean=9781481130332
SEBASTIAN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 2)
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pthHZ
On Facebook: http://ow.ly/pthNy
On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/sebastian-mr-christoph-fischer/1115243053?ean=9781484156001
THE BLACK EAGLE INN (Three Nations Trilogy Book 3)
On Goodreads: http://ow.ly/pAX8G
On Amazon: http://bookshow.me/B00FSBW2L6
How to Contact Christoph Fischer
Thank you for stopping by today. I hope that Christoph’s sample has whetted your appetite to read more of TIME TO LET GO and pick up his other books. Please feel free to leave a comment, especially if you would like to share your experiences dealing with Alzheimer’s in a loved one.