A Delightful peek into an enchanting world where we could all grow younger!
Tilly and Johnny are a young couple who meet and fall in love during WWII.
The sweetness of their romance and the exquisitely vibrant setting of the era reel the reader in from the very first page. We are also briefly introduced to a handful of equally delightful characters when Tilly meets Johnny’s parents and the locals in the village where they live.
And then, confusion hits. Tilly wakes up in a room that she doesn’t recognize. It is decorated in the style of the 40s but it looks so shabby that it makes her feel uncomfortable. And that’s not all. Strangers walk in and then she is informed that she is an Alzheimer patient in a hospital ward that is part of an experiment: The doctors have attempted to create an environment that is reminiscent of the patients’ youth thinking that this would help them recover from this horrible disease. Tilly’s caring and comforting doctors take her to another ward where she reunites with her husband, Johnny. He is recovering from a stroke and has partial mobility problems. The experiment is then expanded to include her husband too with an extraordinary new venture that involves them returning to their abandoned cottage in the village where they had stayed as newlyweds. The cottage is reinstated by the doctors fully in the 40s style. They even made sure to provide them with suitable labeling on their food supplies and for their entertainment, they set them up with an antique TV set and a radio. They both broadcast programs of the said era on a loop thanks to state-of-the-art computer technology.
The moment that Tilly and Johnny return to the cottage, the magic begins and the reader is hooked to keep on reading. The elderly husband and wife gradually regain lost feelings of youth and happiness but also start to physically change back to their younger selves!
The story inevitably brought to mind “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”; another enchanting tale that involves the reversal of the aging process. Jenny Twist has created an equally magical novel where all the things we often wish for as we grow older, actually happen. How great would it be to go back in time and be young again? And what if this time we could even manage to do things that we never did before?
Jenny Twist goes the extra mile to give the reader a secondary story as well that initially comes across as slightly out of place. It is quite exotic as it involves a setting in India and a couple of Indian UK residents who are plagued by strict family values. It is an odd mix with the main story but somehow it all works and I found both the main and secondary plots equally delightful and interesting to follow. In parts, the process of rejuvenation felt so strange that it brought to mind bizarre episodes from The Twilight Zone. Still, they did the trick in luring the reader in a fantastical world where common wishful thinking relevant to recapturing one’s lost youth becomes reality for a while and that is what makes the journey in this book, totally unique and satisfying.
I have thoroughly enjoyed All In The Mind and really look forward to discovering more books from this amazing author!