Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Keeper of Lost Things

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
HarperCollins: 11/28/17
P.S. paperback review copy; 284 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062473554

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan is a highly recommended debut novel that follows the lives of two British assistants and explores connections between people.

Anthony Peardew is an elderly writer and the keeper of lost things. He hired Laura, an unhappy 35-year-old divorcée, as an assistant, several years earlier and they have a compatible, understanding working relationship. Peardew lost the love of his life, Therese forty years ago, on the same day he lost a keepsake she had given him. Since that time he has been quietly collecting and cataloguing any lost things he finds, storing them in his study in Padua, the Victorian villa where he lives and works. He also writes stories about these lost items.

In 1970 Eunice finds a job as a publisher's assistant for the charming Bomber. This also marked the start of their life-long friendship. Bomber owns a small publishing house where he only publishes books that he likes, while also studiously avoiding any of the manuscripts sent to him by his sister, Portia, whose work features blatantly plagiarized plots.

When Anthony Peardew dies, he leaves his estate and Padua to Laura. He also instructs her to try and find the owners of the lost things he has so carefully collected. With help from Freddy the gardener, and Sunshine, the young woman with Down syndrome who lives across the street, Laura sets out to follow Anthony's wishes. When the ghost of Therese begins to act up, she knows that she is missing some vital clue.

With alternating chapters, the novel follows the stories of Laura and Eunice. Interspersed among the chapters are some of the short stories that Anthony wrote about the lost things he found. There are parts of this novel that are charming, delightful, and clever. And there are parts that stretch credulity and belief.

The quality of the writing in this debut novel is really quite good. It is humorous, touching, emotional, and clever. The descriptions are wonderful. The two plots/timelines are both equally interesting. The short stories written about the items are compelling and become a part of the whole story. The Keeper of Lost Things truly is a charming story, slow to start but then it quickly picks up and is an enjoyable novel, with some romance and a pleasant plot. There is a lot of tea made and consumed.

The characters are well developed, including the minor characters and the dogs. Freddie is an obvious romantic interest and Sunshine is a compatible, amicable sidekick. Portia is suitably reprehensible. The dogs are all quite brilliant characters who add a special charm to the novel. Of the two, I was actually more interested in and intrigued by Bomber and Eunice's story. I liked them both and was sad to say goodbye to them. My credulity was stretched with the ghost, Laura's romance with Freddy, and Sunshine's psychic ability.

This is an agreeable, light novel that is easy to follow and as cozy as a cup of hot tea on a winter's day. The caliber of the writing elevates it above an average rating for me, but personally I would have enjoyed more Eunice and Bomber.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for TLC Book Tours.  

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour.