Review of KINDLE Ebook The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan


I had just completed reading A Monster Calls which is a wonderful book, but achingly sad so I needed something a bit more upbeat. Fortunately, Himself had just treated himself with this offering…

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before. Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners. But the final wishes of the Keeper of Lost Things have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

This is an unusual and engaging read – but don’t be fooled by that beautiful, rose-decked cover into thinking this particularly cosy – it isn’t. After all, roses have thorns that dig in when you’re busy smelling the perfume. This isn’t a criticism, for I was a bit concerned about halfway through that this one was going to end with a nauseating side-order of treacle and I was delighted when it didn’t.

Anthony finds his way back into his life after a crippling loss by collecting and labelling hundreds, if not thousands, of lost items. His assistant and right-hand woman, Laura, has no idea of the enormity of his collecting habit until she assumes responsibility for it. This is one of the two storylines, as this book is structured as a dual narrative with Bomber, as a reasonably successful publisher and his young assistant, Eunice, being the other strand.

As their stories progress, this novel unflinchingly depicts some gnarly issues. Dementia afflicts one of the main characters and the main antagonist thrives at the expense of those a lot more deserving around her. We witness a girl with Downs syndrome who has been bullied at school find a refuge with an understanding, kindly neighbour, who even so at times hides in a cupboard when she cannot face Sunny’s constant questions. There is an angry ghost who haunts a house after dying far too soon.

So while Hogan’s smooth writing and quirky, charming style beguiles us, she gently yet firmly confronts us with a number of issues that won’t end happily ever after. I’m going to remember poor Bomber for a very long time… However, this isn’t all about plunging us into a maelstrom of misery, so there are characters we care about who do prevail. And in amongst the hard-hitting stuff, there is also an enjoyable romance and a fair dollop of humour. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I suspect I shall be thinking about this one for a while to come.

18 responses »

  1. I’m so happy to read a review of this book! I’ve been curious about it, thank you for sharing your thoughts:-) It’s probably more contemporary than the books I usually read, but I’m glad to hear there’s a ghost!

    • I’m glad you found the review useful, Tammy:). There is an edge of the fantastical throughout, though the gritty nature of some of the issues stops it slipping into wimsey, thank goodness.

  2. I was about to say the same thing as Tammy. It’s not a book I would have normally looked for during a trip to the bookshop, but after your review it has definitely piqued my interest!

  3. This is my list of books I really want to read. I have been reading good reviews but is also a beautiful cover…the type I need on my shelves.

  4. The cover and title of this one caught my attention but it sounds like a much deeper read than I was expecting. I’m glad that you mention that there are characters that do prevail. I need a little bit of light in my books. This sounds amazing.

  5. I have checked this out from the library at your suggestion (not to put the pressure on or anything..ha!) and it is next in line after a large print copy (also checked we ever leave with only one book? Noooooo.) of Setting Free the Kites, which I should finish tonight. An opening of a LFL this morning (My job was to hand out popsicles) and a planning meeting for AAUW at lunchtime (ever try to plan anything with8 women contributing?) for the coming year. A quick catch up of e-mails, and warming up leftovers for supper, and I’ll be free to read…busy Saturday!

  6. It doesn’t seem exactly my type of read, but it was interesting to read your review. Even if I don’t pick up the book, I like to be aware of its existence.

    • It isn’t normally something I’d enjoy – but the lack of sentimentality sold it to me. I loved it and still find myself thinking of it from time to time, which is always a major plus…

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