The Keeper of Lost Things
by Ruth Hogan
A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.
Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.
Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, 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, Anthony 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 assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.
Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.
Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.
As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?
Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs Queen Takes the Train,and The Silver Linings Playbook.
I picked up this book because I kept seeing it everywhere and was instantly drawn in by its cute floral cover. And that’s really what this book is, cute!
Set in two different timelines intelligently meandering between each other, we meet Anthony Peardew, an author and collector of his own personal lost and found, and Eunice, a colourful character who has fallen in love with a man she’ll never have.
Anthony is in need of a housekeeper/assistant and he hires Laura, a divorced and broken woman who’s living a life she never thought she would. Full of regrets and disappointments, Laura founds her new employment to be a sanctuary, and when Anthony dies he gives Laura a task which he hopes will change her life around, learning to connect with the world again.
The characters are all lovely, from bold, confident Bomber to extraordinary yet quirky next-door-neighbour Sunshine. Each character was charming and full of intriguing stories. I particularly liked the strange names of the dogs (Carrot & Baby Jane) in this book and felt they were just a small part of the plot which suggested that not everything in life needs to be perfect.
The chapters are short and sweet and the story is easy to follow. This book has a little bit of everything, covering a wide range of themes, from history and romance to whimsy humour and even ghosts make an appearance in Laura’s attempt to fulfill Anthony’s request.
Disappointingly, I wasn’t too keen on the stories Anthony had imagined and written about the items he had found throughout his travels. Often distracting from the plot, I’m not sure they added much to the story. I’d have preferred to use these pages for more development of Eunice’s story and would happily read a whole book of this story line alone.
Overall rating: A heartwarming story of the things that make life important. Weaving between two story lines which eventually come together, this story is eloquently written and left a smile on my face. I’ll be giving Ruth Hogan‘s “The Keeper of Lost Things” 4 stars. Now for “the lovely cup of tea”…
See my other reviews of books by Ruth Hogan here: