Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Three Things About Elsie” as Want to Read:
Three Things About Elsie
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Three Things About Elsie

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  14,901 ratings  ·  1,951 reviews
There are three things you should know about Elsie. The first thing is that she’s my best friend. The second is that she always knows what to say to make me feel better. And the third thing…might take a bit more explaining.

Eighty-four-year-old Florence has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree Home for the Elderly. As she waits to be rescued, she wonders if a terrible secret
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published August 7th 2018 by Scribner (first published January 11th 2018)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Three Things About Elsie, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Linn K.G.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Nancy Mayfield
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  14,901 ratings  ·  1,951 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Three Things About Elsie
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who knows me will know how much I loved Joanna’s debut, I loved this even more. It’s about getting old, it’s about being young, it’s about the ripples our lives leave, the stories we tell ourselves and each other. It’s also about finding those long seconds that make a difference and all through the eyes of Florence and those around her living in sheltered accommodation. Broke my heart a bit and I loved it all the more for doing so.
Florence says, ”I have never done anything remarkable. I’ve never climbed a mountain or won a medal, and I have never stood on a stage and been listened to, or crossed a finishing line before anyone else.

I have led a quite extraordinary life.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect while reading this novel. Some of my Goodreads Friends loved it, and others didn’t care for it as much. So, I just sent my fingers through the door to find the light switch, and oh my! This book stirred me to the depth
Angela M
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

3.5 stars rounded up.

Sad, funny at times and what feels like a realistic portrait of aging and memory loss and loneliness, this story is also about the beauty of friendship. There’s a mystery to be solved, just as in her debut novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, except this time the amateur sleuths are octogenarians and not young girls. Eighty four year old Florence has fallen in her flat at the Cherry Tree Home, an assisted living facility for the elderly. While waiting for help to come, s
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Florence is an 84-year-old woman living in the Cherry Tree home for the elderly. She has fallen and is lying on the floor waiting to be rescued. She is thinking about what will happen when the emergency personnel arrive. She is also thinking about a secret from her past and what will happen when that secret has become known. Florence has a lot on her mind, she has recently been put on probation at the home by the director, Miss Ambrose. Florence is having difficulty fitting in with the other res ...more
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

4.5 Stars

"Where've you been? "
"I've looked for you forever and a day."
"Where've you been?"
"I'm just not myself when you're away."
"No, I'm just not myself when you're away."

-- ”Where’ve You Been,”Kathy Mattea, Songwriters: Don Henry / Jon Vezner

In Cannon’s debut novel, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep two young girls seek to solve a mystery of sorts, and in Three Things About Elsie there is also a mystery that two women seek to solve, but they are no longer young girls, but e
Jan 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bbc-2-book-club
3.5 Stars
This was BBC Radio 2 Book club read for January and I have enjoyed many of of the reads on this list. Three things about Elsie is sentimental, witty and a charming read about ageing, memory loss and friendship.

The novel opens with the main character, 84 year old Florence lying on the floor of her flat in a sheltered accommodation village, While she awaits for help she starts to reminisce about things that have happened in her life and how she struggles with making sense of her past as
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 friendship stars to Three Things About Elsie! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Before I start the review, you should know that I have an affinity for the number three. Sometimes I notice I have three of the same item in my grocery cart, or when I buy something I really, really like, I want to have three of it- a back-up, and one more back-up for good measure. I never take this too far, but the number three is fun for me. A bonus! 😂 So when I saw the title Three Things About Elsie, I knew there would be something e
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
I finished this book after skimming through large parts of it because I had figured out the one important thing about Elsie very early on.
Elsie is Florence’s best friend for the past thirty years and helps her to remember things along the way.
Florence is 84 years old, lives in an assisted living home, has fallen and is waiting to be found and for an ambulance and is thinking about recent developments in her life
There is a mystery involved also which lends to some funny moments.
This book deals
Helene Jeppesen
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a precious and heart-warming story!
“Three Things about Elsie” starts out with Florence lying alone on the floor in her home for elderly people. No one seems to ever find her, so she has a lot of time to reflect back on her life and she takes us readers along with her on those reminiscenses.
This novel is a combination of a mystery and a humorous account of what it’s like to live your last years of life. The mystery part starts when a man moves into the home who scares Florence, and Florenc
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading and enjoying the debut novel,The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by author Joanna Cannon I jumped at the chance of reading this novel. This book just got better and better and on finishing left me reflecting on what I had just read. Without giving anything away I was blown away by the ending.
This book is not typical of my normal genre, I normally favour thrillers that are sometimes gruesome, but this book is sentimental, funny and a lovely read. The main character is 84 year old Flore
Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)
Nopity nope nope nope. Apart from its patronizing tone and blaring sentimentality, this book’s major drawback is that it impedes its own goals. Video review here: ...more
I absolutely loved this book, this book has shot up to one of my all-time favourites. Joanna’s writing is captivatingly beautiful I rocketed through reading this book in one day. Its poignant, funny and profound. She writes about aging, memory loss, loneliness and dementia in a really delicate way.

The book starts with 84 year old Florence (Flo) who is living in an aged care facility, she’s had a fall and is waiting for someone to come find her, she’s worried no one will find her and she starts
Emer (A Little Haze)
I'm somewhat torn as to my rating. This was so frustratingly cliched but it also had a purity of emotion... Those last few pages really got me. But before that I was irritated by the obviousness of the plot devices that were used to tell Florence's story. If this book hadn't been so keen on attempting to shroud aspects of the characters in mystery and had purposefully let the reader in on the reveal from the start then I think this might have worked better for me.
But those last few pages were b
So did I like this? Well, sort of. I am wavering between two and three stars.

There are some really good lines--some humorous, some perceptive and philosophically wise. It was the lines that drew me to the book from the start and what I most like having now finished it. For me though, some lines that first struck me as clever, pithy and wise lost their brilliance by the book's end because they had been repeated just too many times. You can overdo anything if you say it too often. The telling beco
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-author
I love this story. As it's not a conventional read it is difficult to categorise but if you think nostalgic cosy drama with a bit of a mystery and some dark comedy that should cover it!
I don't want to spoil anything so I'll say no more except that I highly recommend this one.
I read 'The trouble with goats and sheep' by this author last year and loved it too - this one has a similar feel although it's a completely different story but if you liked that one you're highly likely to enjoy this one to
Dale Harcombe
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When 84 year old Florence Claybourne has a fall in her flat at the Cherry Tree Care Home for the elderly, she has lots of time to think and review her life as she waits for someone to come and help her. Florence finds life at Cherry Tree difficult. She’s never wanted to join in with the activities of other residents which puts her on the outer with Miss Ambrose who is always threatening her that she will need to be moved to Greenbank if she will not cooperate. Florence’s best friend is Elsie who ...more
Dannii Elle
This is my eighth book read in the Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.

My heart is forever broken!
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 Rounded up to five stars! If this book isn’t on your list to read, you should add it! I seem to be drawn to books where the main character is a quirky Octogenarian! Florence, who is 84 years old, has fallen in her flat at Cherry Tree home for the Elderly and, while waiting to be rescued, she wonders if a terrible secret from her past is about to come to light. I adored Florence and her best friend, Elsie, along with their sidekick Jack. I laughed out loud at some of antics they got up ...more
Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer
Longlisted for the 2018 Women's Prize for fiction.

Joanna Cannon’s second book after her best-selling debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which I seem to have been almost alone in strongly disliking, according it one of my rare 1* ratings, a review which concluded with a list of what I saw as “The Trouble with The Trouble with Goats”

This is her follow up novel – a novel which, given my experience with her first novel, I would not have read other t
Apr 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Florence Claybourne is eighty four years old and lives at the Cherry Tree Care Home for the aged. It is here one day that she has a fall and as she waits for someone to find her she begins to think about her life. Florence found her time spent at Cherry Tree had not been a pleasant experience and not wanting to take part in the daily activities or interact with the other residents didn't help.

Florence's best friend Elsie has always been there for her. Elsie knows just what to say to keep Floren
♥ Sandi ❣
3 stars

A study in aging - the loneliness, the loss of memory and the secrets kept for years.

Florence Claybourne has fallen in her apartment. She lives in a retirement home and she knows she will soon be found. As she lays on her floor she begins to relive the secrets of her past. However, will her memory remain true to her?

I thought that this book did a good job in general describing the elderly population. It hit on lifetime friends, elderly limitations, forgetfulness, memory loss and secrets
Jan 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This author’s first book, The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, caught my attention with its intriguing title. This time, Three Things About Elsie lured me in with its tasty Battenberg cake cover. It makes me think of my childhood, of saving the marzipan until last, of not having a gluten intolerance. I knew I just had to read this book too, and not just because I wanted to eat the cover.

For me, Three Things About Elsie felt like a combination of Joanna Cannon’s first book, with the mystery and styl
Sherri Thacker
I didn’t love this book but I did enjoy the book overall. Parts of the book dragged but at the end, it all came together, as I was hoping it would. Dementia is such a sad, terrible disease and I know what it’s like, with my mother in an assistant living place living with it. This book made me think of her and all the residents I talk to when I go there to visit her. They love to talk about the old days and who knows if what they are saying is true or not but they certainly believe it as they are ...more
If there is one theme that is a prominent crossover from Joanna Cannon's debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep is something missing. But while we were dealing with a missing women in book one, here we are presented with a woman losing herself as memory fades. Set in an old people’s home, Three Things About Elsie explores the uncertain middle ground between life and death in an enclosed setting.

Opening the story to find our main protagonist Florence Claybourne in a fair degree of bother af
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Elsie is Florence's (Flo) best friend. The book is all about Flo and begins with her lying on the floor having had a fall, she's waiting for someone to arrive, she lives in a self contained apartment within a restirement home. She imagines who might come first, what they might say, the ambulance ride to the hospital.

Every few chapters are interspersed with a chapter that is labelled with the time, the first chapter is 4.48pm and the last chapter is 11.12pm. The chapters in between narrate the s
Too slow, too predictable and not enough story. I didn't mind the characters much, they weren't anything brilliant but they were entertaining enough, although Flo was mostly a total pain.

The Elsie twist was obvious right from the off, I think it was meant to be a bit of a surprise but it didn't work.

What was the point of Miss Ambrose or Handy Simon's POVs? They added very little to the story and seemed so separate from Flo and company.

Jack and Flo's friendship was great, as was the focus on old
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: The winters at Cherry Tree always took longer, and this would be my fifth. It was called sheltered accommodation, but I'd never quite been able to work out what it was we were being sheltered from. The world was still out there. It crept in through the newspapers and the television. It slid between the cracks of other people's conversation and sang out from their mobile telephones. We were the ones hidden away, collected up and ushered out of sight, and I often wondered if it was actual ...more
Maria Hill AKA MH Books
"..but love paper-aeroplanes where it pleases. I have found that it settles in the most unlikely of places, and once it has, you're left with the burden of where it has landed for the rest of your life."

The three things about Elise are that:
She is Florence’s best Friend.
She always knows the right thing to say and
Well, I instinctively understood the third thing about Elise from the beginning. But some of you may not until the end. And as Flo says it really doesn’t matter much if you know or n
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three Things About Elsie is filled with some lovely touches of humour, poignancy, and perceptive observations on life.
As well as this, it invites the reader into a mystery regarding a man from our main character Florence's past.

Florence is in her eighties and living in managed accommodation for the elderly. Elsie is her best friend - this is the first of the three things about her. As the book commences, Florence has fallen in her flat, and she is thinking about recent events in her life, tellin
☙ nemo ❧ (pagesandprozac)
”I have never done anything remarkable. I’ve never climbed a mountain or won a medal, and I have never stood on stage and been listened to, or crossed a finishing line before anyone else.

I have led quite an extraordinary life.”

here are three things this book is about: secrets. serendipity. spaces.

it is a psychological mystery, but it is also more that that. it’s about the spaces between extraordinary people, extraordinary moments, about ordinary people who think they will never leave a mark on
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Lido
  • The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes
  • Half a World Away
  • The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club, #1)
  • The Keeper of Lost Things
  • Dear Mrs. Bird
  • How the Penguins Saved Veronica
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo
  • Blood Orange
  • The Other Half of Augusta Hope
  • The Familiars
  • The Salt Path
  • Miss Benson's Beetle
  • Queenie Malone's Paradise Hotel
  • The Foundling
  • The Midnight Library
  • A Keeper
  • Our House
See similar books…
Librarians note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Joanna Cannon is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling debut novel The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, which has sold over 250,000 copies in the UK alone and has been published in 15 countries. The novel was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for The Bookseller Industry Awards 2017 and won

Articles featuring this book

Tired of fictional murderers lurking around every page? Fed up with unwelcome apocalypses, unending wars, and miseries that somehow...
90 likes · 48 comments
“You can see the fracture lines in people sometimes, if you search hard enough. You can see where they’ve broken and tried to mend themselves.” 14 likes
“Sometimes, you go through an experience in life that slices into the very bones of who you are, and two different versions of yourself will always sit either side of it, like bookends.” 7 likes
More quotes…