Good morning and Happy Sunday 🙂
Today I’m going to be reviewing Ruth Hogan’s, The Keeper of Lost Things.
Anthony Peardew is the Keeper of ‘lost things’. Forty years ago he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Broken-hearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects – the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind – and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, he worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting housekeeper Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy. But the final wishes of the Keeper of ‘lost things’ have unforeseen repercussions that trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters … – Google Books
I’ve had this book on my Kindle for awhile and I thought yes, this cover looks pretty and it sounds sweet, let’s give it a go and I’m glad I did.
The book starts off with one of the best introductory paragraphs I’ve read in awhile. It’s so intriguing it kind of made me sit up a little straighter and think yuppers, this is going to be good.
“Charles Bramwell Brockley was travelling alone and without a ticket on the 14.42 from London Bridge to Brighton. The Huntley & Palmers biscuit tin in which he was travelling teetered precariously on the edge of the seat as the train juddered to a halt at Haywards Heath. But just as it toppled forward towards the carriage floor it was gathered up by a safe pair of hands”. Come on, tell me you’re not intrigued.
This multi-layered story focuses on different characters set in different times who don’t all know each other but are all connected. You go back and forth between Anthony, Therese, Laura, Freddy and Sunshine in the present and Eunice & Bomber and their cute canine friends in the past. The writer does a great job weaving through and slowly revealing the connections. It wasn’t until I reached I think it was chapter 30 that again I had to sit up and go “Oh!” (I like to read laying down).
Another thing I really enjoyed about this was the short stories that accompanied the lost objects and this also came with a surprise which I don’t want to spoil. I like a good short story collection and these were really well done. If the stories alone were a collection, I’d probably buy them. Later on in the book I began to love them even more as the writer uses them to show the connection between the characters set in the past and those in the present.
Let’s also talk about the writing. If you don’t enjoy the story that’s fine but I don’t think anyone can critique the writing itself. It is gorgeous! This author could narrate my life and it would sound brilliant. I wasn’t surprised to find out she studied English and Drama in college, she put her degree to use. Her way with words (some I admit I had to look up in the dictionary but that’s okay, I love expanding my vocabulary) is just lovely. I can’t think of another way to describe it. Lovely.
While my dislikes are few, there are a couple. I really liked the characters, Eunice and Bomber’s story while sad was sweet and real. Their friendship was honest and you could tell they really loved each other. Goals. The other characters though felt a little rushed. I liked Laura, I got her background but Freddy and Sunshine, I don’t feel as though they got the character development they needed. Freddy’s and Laura’s relationship seemed too predictable and Sunshine became a little too campy. I don’t particularly like when characters who are different, be they disabled etc. get these “powers”. This isn’t X-men. Also, the relationship between Anthony and Therese became less love story and more ghost story throughout the book which to me became a little weird after awhile. I am glad the author sorted that out in the end (which to me was kind of hastily done) but because as I said, the writing is amazing, it did work out in a way that left me satisfied and smiling. Keep in mind, these critiques could just be me because I once again found myself reading too much into certain partsof the book. When I read a “heavy” book and then follow up with a light one, it’s hard for my brain sometimes to switch gears and I think that happened here.
All in all, this book is a sweet and light read and I think a great pick for summer whether you’re at the beach, by the pool or jut relaxing some place trying to get cool. If you’ve read it let me know what you think.
Have a good one! 🙂
“Laura often felt that she should have been a Catholic. She did guilt so well.”
“‘If you never get sadness, how do you know what happy is like?’ she asked. ‘And by the way, everybody dies.'”
“The worries and doubts that daytime activity kept at bay came sneaking back under cover of darkness, unpicking the threads of her comfortable life like moths on a cashmere sweater.”
“Customary common sense was temporarily out of service, and her imagination had cut loose, rampaging through reason with party poppers and a silly hat.”
“He had then removed Godfrey’s wedding ring from his finger for the first time since Grace had placed it there a lifetime ago. The gold was scratched and worn, the circle a little misshapen; a testament to a long and robust marriage where love was rarely voiced, but manifest every day.”
“Bomber said that the wonderful thing about books was that they were films that played inside your head.”