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The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
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The Keeper of Lost Things

by Ruth Hogan

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4093736,845 (3.8)17

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I would have liked this more without the supernatural/psychic aspects ( )
  leslie.98 | Jul 15, 2018 |
‘’Found, sixth carriage from the front, 14:42 train from London Bridge to Brighton. Deceased unknown. God bless and rest in peace.’’

My relationship with this book has been a bit weird from the start. For almost a year, its beautiful cover with the peaceful cobalt blue background and the quiet pink beauty of its flowers has been calling my name from the shelf of my favourite bookshop. And every time, I would take it in my hands, read the blurb, scam and skim through a few paragraphs and return it to its place. When the wonderful Traveling Sisters group decided to have it as our nest read, I thought the time had finally come.

The story is quite interesting and humane. Anthony, an elderly writer who has experienced a serious loss, has a strange habit. He finds lost items, discarded in the streets, in trains, in parks. He collects them, meticulously describes the time and place of discovery and then imagines the circumstances that surround the loss of these objects. As a result, the lost things aren’t just bracelets, hairpins, gloves...They become symbols for lives lost and gained. Anthony’s journey is shared by Laura who tries to leave a miserable life behind with the aid of Sunshine, a young woman who is special, unique and the most beautiful character of the novel.

There are many things to appreciate in this story but there are also quite a lot of problems, in my opinion. I found the subplot of Eunice and Bomber interesting and although not closely related to the main story, it added a certain carefree attitude of a past era without wasting our time. The issues of diversity, acceptance and sexual identity were well-handled and approached with respect and tenderness. The stories of the objects collected by Anthony were outstanding. Some were nostalgic, melancholic. Others were sad, bitter. And then, there were stories of courage, perseverance and hope. The stories saved the book from becoming too melodramatic and void. I also appreciated the reference to ‘’Philadelphia’’, the film that gave Tom Hanks his first Academy Award.

And now, the issues I had with the novel. I couldn’t stand Laura’s endless musings on love and sex. I wasn’t a fan of the romantic relationship and thankfully, it wasn’t a main feature in the story. I was much more interested in Anthony and Theresa and I was disappointed with the treatment of their relationship. I didn’t like the magical realism element, the subplot concerning Theresa. I thought it was a gimmick, it dragged, it seemed out of place and made Laura appear even more idiotic than before. I felt it was included just for the sake of it and was done in a sloppy, almost naive way. The dialogue could use some improvement as well. Especially Laura’s line came off as hysteric, copied from a bad movie. They did no favour to her already mediocre, passable character. Furthermore, the comments on a character’s wife were unnecessarily cruel, offending and condescending. They were racist, plain and simple. And just how many times can I read about ‘’the lovely cup of tea’’ and remain sane?

The characters of Anthony, Sunshine, Eunice and Bomber were very interesting. Anthony and Sunshine provided an aura of mystery, melancholy and quirkiness in the story. Laura did very little to make me appreciate her. Yes, she had the courage to walk away from a cruel life but again, she wanted a man to define herself. Her self-pity and romantic troubles with the entirely indifferent, average Freddy made me cringe. Portia ended up being a caricature. You can't have clown characters if you want your book to be taken seriously, I’m sorry to say.

So, in my opinion, this is a novel where the driving force is the story and the characters are given a supporting role. In this sense, one may consider it successful. It won’t find a place among my memorable reads but it retained a fairly nice balance between being light-hearted and quirky and meaningful. I know it would have been much better if it had been graced with a well-written main character.

*This was a Traveling Sister read and my first review as a member of this amazing fellowship of magnificent ladies with a deep love for books. Discussing the novel with them was pure joy.*

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
A pleasantly tangled tale of different lives that may or may not be real, Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things invites readers to look through different eyes, at different lives and tragedies, and at the things we leave behind. Is a tiny ruby the reject from a broken engagement? Is the man watching movies related to the woman who dies outside a cake shop? And will the cleaning lady rise to meet the better life she deserves?

The story’s told in an enthralling blend of different times and place, viewpoints and realities, making it truly difficult to put down. It might be moderately confusing at times, but it’s a satisfying sort of confusion, begging the reader to think and rethink answers and ideas. And it all holds together beautifully, jigsaw pieces falling into place or lying honorably discarded.

The characters each have hidden depths, pleasantly and gently revealed with no artificial dives into backstory or motivation. Hidden connections are equally smooth and believable. And the whole is an absorbing story that leaves you delighted to have met these people, and maybe even a little changed, a little more open to meeting the strangers who enter our own lives.

Disclosure: I borrowed a copy and now I want to buy my own to keep on my shelf! ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Jul 3, 2018 |
This book was gripping, more like a persistent pull, rather than a page turner that conflicts with your life. The central characters are all real and lovable. Laura’s journey leaves one a little sad but with hope. Sunshine is a delight. She sometimes acts as a conscience. The descriptions of the house Padua created the quiet but cozy feel that gives the book its charm.

The Eunice and Bomber story is also great. I found it easy to love both characters. I loved the quiet devotion. I loved the donuts and dogs.

I loved having the three dogs. They created a bit of light humor when the rest of the story was playing its sad undertones.
There was one reveal with Anthony Peardew’s stories which was a bit over the top. This is book I plan to reread. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  ElizabethPotter | Jun 30, 2018 |
In Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan, the author explores the idea of reuniting people with the objects they have lost in the past. The story is built around an aging author, Anthony Peardew, who, forty years ago, lost an important keepsake on the same day that his beloved fiancé was killed in an accident. Since that day, Anthony becomes a ‘keeper of things’, as he collects found objects with the intention of returning them someday to their owners. When Anthony passes away, he entrusts the task to his faithful assistant, Laura, who has just completed an upsetting divorce. Laura pursues in this daunting task with the help of a new neighbor friend, Sunshine, who is a teenager with downs syndrome, and a handsome gardener named Fred. As Laura carries out Anthony’s will, she discovers an extraordinary friendship and love. This novel is also a dual story about Bomber, a book publisher, and his best friend and confidante, Eunice. Written as separate stories through most of the novel, it is only at the novel’s conclusion that the two stories merge to find a satisfying resolution. Within the novel, the story would often divert into other short anecdotes about how some of the lost things came to be misplaced. It is in these multi-page diversions where I frequently became distracted from the original story and felt that the story lost ground. For this reason, I am giving the book three stars, instead of four, although the writing is superior. ( )
  haymaai | Jun 28, 2018 |
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To Bill, my faithful wingman, and Princess Tilly Bean
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Charles Bramwell Brockley was travelling alone and without a ticket on the 14.42 from London Bridge to Brighton.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062473530, Hardcover)

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 accidently 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 19 Sep 2016 20:54:34 -0400)

Having collected a lifetime of lost objects in order to deal with the loss of his fiance, Anthony Peardew bequeaths his secret life's mission to his unsuspecting assistant Laura, leaving her his house and all its lost treasures--and the responsibility to return each one to its owner.… (more)

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