Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

She was born in the house where her parents still live in Bedford: her sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at her. As a child Hogan read everything she could lay her hands on: The Moomintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, the back of cereal packets and gravestones.  Hogan was mad about dogs and horses, but didn't like daddy-long-legs or sugar in her tea.
Ruth Hogan studied English and Drama at Goldsmiths College which was brilliant, but then she came home and got a 'proper' job. She worked for ten years in a senior local government position (She was definitely a square peg in a round hole, but it paid the bills and mortgage) before a car accident left her unable to work full-time and convinced her to start writing seriously. It was going well, but then in 2012 she got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept her up all night she passed the time writing and the eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things.
She lives in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long-suffering partner (who has very recently become my husband)  She is a magpie, always collecting treasures, and a huge John Betjeman fan. Her favourite word is 'antimacassar' and she still likes reading gravestones.
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 fiancĂ©e, 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 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 a 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.
Set in both London and Brighton this a very sweet read that I couldn't put down since I picked up. It took me a while to write the review, though, because I was constantly re-reading it and trying to sink in all the wisdom and charm it had. It is an intelligent novel, filled with magic and gentleness and speaks of times that are no longer. It was like a throwback of the times when people actually lived, read, loved, breathed at a slower pace. It was a magnificent comic read that I'm sure people will love to get their hands on.
I was especially impressed by the characters: not only were they very vivid and real to me as a reader, but they transported me to a life I would very much wish to be apart of, even the minor once were so full of life that I wished I could pop on the street and say hi!
Ruth Hogan is a true master of the pen, she writes so delicately, her words sweep you of your feet and make you smile with every collocation, with every gap. It was a whimsical experience to have. The Keeper of Lost Things is a very special debut. I often say that every now and again, a book comes along that can make the reader laugh out loud and then cry within just a couple of pages. Well, this novel is exactly that kind of read. I hope all of you who read my humble blog go ahead a read it! The experience is priceless.