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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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8324610,861 (3.87)35
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 43 (next | show all)
An absolutely delightful book. I think I'm going to go out and get my own copy so I can reread it.

In post World War 2 England, rationing is ending, grand houses are tumbling down from neglect and lack of money and families are learning to cope with the losses of husbands and fathers.

In this setting, 18-year old Penelope's life changes when she accepts a cab ride with an unknown young woman and enjoys tea with the girl's eccentric aunt and cousin. How can you not enjoy a book with Hollywood stars, Elvis wannabees, the 50s and even "fairy godmothers" in the form of a charming young man? The mysterious appearance of the evening gown in Penelope's room on the eve of the big dinner was wonderful.

Eva Rice's terrific novel is reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher in some ways: the voice, the setting of post-WW2 in England, beautiful descriptions and a delightful heroine. The characters are memorable and entertaining. This would make a charming film.

It's romantic without being sappy or fluffy. Funny and heartwarming at the same time. Not only a must-read, but a definite re-read as well!
( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
An absolutely delightful book. I think I'm going to go out and get my own copy so I can reread it.

In post World War 2 England, rationing is ending, grand houses are tumbling down from neglect and lack of money and families are learning to cope with the losses of husbands and fathers.

In this setting, 18-year old Penelope's life changes when she accepts a cab ride with an unknown young woman and enjoys tea with the girl's eccentric aunt and cousin. How can you not enjoy a book with Hollywood stars, Elvis wannabees, the 50s and even "fairy godmothers" in the form of a charming young man? The mysterious appearance of the evening gown in Penelope's room on the eve of the big dinner was wonderful.

Eva Rice's terrific novel is reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher in some ways: the voice, the setting of post-WW2 in England, beautiful descriptions and a delightful heroine. The characters are memorable and entertaining. This would make a charming film.

It's romantic without being sappy or fluffy. Funny and heartwarming at the same time. Not only a must-read, but a definite re-read as well!
( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
3.5 stars (call it three)

I enjoyed this book. It was a very pleasant story of young people in postwar England. Penelope Wallace is facing the challenge of her family’s crumbling financial circumstances as the 1950’s hover on the verge of a cultural explosion. She balances her burgeoning social life and her fantasy obsession with a current pop star against her increasing anxiety about her family’s dire situation. The atmosphere of the story is rich in historical details of London’s high society. It was fun to watch the characters getting on with their lives just as everything (as we the readers know) is about to change for them. The characters were interesting and very likable. The story, although pleasant, was unfortunately forgettable.
The plot includes several budding romances, an undisclosed illness and a catastrophic final event, but somehow none of these events never built up a sense of tension for me. Each turn of the plot was just a bit too predictable. If you enjoyed Travels With My Aunt, Rebecca and I Captured the Castle, you will probably enjoy this book as well. It will be very familiar.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 43 (next | show all)
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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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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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