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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets (edition 2007)

by Eva Rice

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8194211,095 (3.87)26
Member:DubaiReader
Title:The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Authors:Eva Rice
Info:Plume (2007), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:GF, Audio CD (abridged), 2012

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The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
I picked up this book expecting a bit of fluff...and found myself wonderfully surprised. Not fluff at all but rather a poignant story of 18 year old Penelope of an impoverished wealthy family in 1950's England, teetering on the edge of womanhood. The book is replete with marvelous characters, Penelope's beautiful, young widowed mother; her younger musically-inclined brother named after Inigo Jones; her friends, Charlotte and Harry; and Aunt Clare. Full of literary and musical references, this is the best book I've read in a long time. Five GIANT stars!
( )
  Oodles | Feb 16, 2016 |
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

★ ★ ★ ★ ½ heart

Synopsis off of Amazon: Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while postwar London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.

Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s— and her family’s—future happiness.


I checked this book out from the library not knowing what it was about, going off a whim. And I am so glad I did. I absolutely loved this debut novel by Eva Rice. The characters, every last one of them, was so vibrant and I enjoyed reading about all of them. The novel is well written and even though the story wasn't exactly fast-paced, I couldn't wait to see what would happen to the main character, Penolope and her friends. I just wanted to drop in and be part of this unparalleled group. It doesn't help that I love all things British. I also liked the many references to pop culture of the mid-50s'. I wish I could better describe this book, but alas all I can say is I found it unique and worth the read. I relished all 352 pages. (I often find it hard to write a review on a book I enjoy so much, feeling I can never fully do it justice). ( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |

Originally posted here

An enchanting journey through 1950s post-war life as seen by 18 year old Penelope Wallace. Eva Rice's writing style has the same wry wit and humorous observations reminiscent of Jane Austen. This book is a fascinating portrait of the American pop-culture influence creeping throughout Britain after the war and the emergence of the 'teenager'. I enjoyed it very much.

However, the plot felt slightly lacking for me as there didn't seem to be a strong driving force behind the story. There is a romance but it did not feel like the focus of the story, and it sort of emerges as almost an afterthought. There are gorgeous little illustrations on a handful of pages in this edition and I really enjoyed them. I also enjoyed the foreword by Miranda Hart as she is one of my favourite comedians.

The book is no doubt gorgeous looking and the writing style is perfect, I just wish there was a bit more of 'omph' to the story. A 3 star read for me.

**Disclaimer**
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an unbiased review. ( )
  4everfanatical | Feb 5, 2016 |
Delightful, charming and captivating. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was an easy book to read, but it gets three stars from me because it would have also been as easy book to put down. Of its 352 pages, I was not hooked until after page 200. Several reviewers compare this book to I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. While I have never read this book, it does appear that the similarities are numerous, with Smith's work being superlative in the minds of most of these reviewers. I was also a little turned off by the seemingly constant mention that the author is the daughter of a famous composer, which also does her an injustice.

Rice's writing is fluid, clever and easy to read, but by no means ground-breaking or otherwise soul-searching-and-revealing. The characters are well-drawn, but did not garner much empathy from me. I can imagine that this is exactly what it was like in post-war, post-aristocrat England in the 1950s. This is a nice beach or rainy day read. Most of all, though, it encouraged me to add I Capture the Castle to my reading list.
( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
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Epigraph
She said that we must do something about the rooms. The walls were all damp and fur had settled on some parts of the wallpaper. But we just closed the doors and hurried down to the kitchen where it was warm.

—Edna O'Brien, The Lonely Girl
Dedication
For Donald "Capability" Rice, who helped me invent Milton Magna
First words
I met Charlotte in London one afternoon while waiting for a bus.
Quotations
'How tiresome it must be,' I said, 'being in love. I was always led to believe it would be the most wonderful thing ever.'

'Who on earth told you that?' said Charlotte in amazement. 'I've never known it to be anything other than torture.'
Men, I thought, were more trouble than they were worth. Really, one should stick to books where one sees the hero coming a mile off.
It was a funny question. Who was Papa? He was a million things that I would never know, and a million things that I had made him as a result of never knowing.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
THis story is about what happened to me after I met Charlotte, and what happens when you say yes to everything, and how awkward it is when everyone falls in love with the wrong people. It all started on a perfectly ordinary afternoon in November. Charlotte invited me home to tea with Aunt Clare and Harry, and from that moment on, everything changed. At first I don't think I knew it-after all, when I went to bed that night I was still living with my mother and brother in perpetual chaos in a a crumbling estate we couldn't afford to keep, Magna- but the next day, I began to realize that for the first time ever, I had my own life. You see, meeting Charlotte made everything possible. Even being kissed by Johnnie Ray and hanging out with a movie producer named Rocky and believing my brother Inigo could be the next Elvis Presley. And missing people begore they've even gone. This story is what happened when we war babies grew up and needed answers. When we got them, they weren't what we expected at all.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452288096, Paperback)

Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while postwar London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.

Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s— and her family’s—future happiness.

Vibrant, witty, and filled with vivid historical detail, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is an utterly unique debut novel about a time and place just slipping into history.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:22 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Struggling to preserve her family's crumbling estate as well as their lifestyle in 1950s London, Penelope endeavors to fall in love, participates in a plot with her best friend's brother, and finds herself falling for a wealthy American movie producer.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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