The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
The Keeper of Lost Things is what I would call a feel good book. It’s not my typical read to be honest, it’s not full of dragons, vampires or fae, no grimdark, no snark, no cursing up a storm but it’s one of those books that contains what I suppose I would describe as gentle fantasy. There is a hint of ghosts, a whisper of fate working in strange ways and ensuring that people’s paths cross and there’s a lovely coming together of all things in a completely over the top saccharine and yet strangely satisfying way. It’s one of those books that plays on those thoughts that we probably all harbour that maybe there is ‘something else’. What I will say before I go any further is this book had me entranced, it had moments of pure laugh out loud delight and moments of sadness and sincerity.
There are a number of elements to this story which I’ll try and simplify by describing the characters.
Anthony Peardew is an elderly gentleman. An author who lives in a beautiful house where time seems to stand still. Anthony is the keeper of lost things. Unfortunately years ago he suffered the tragic loss of the love of his life, at the same time he lost a trinket that he believed linked the two of them together. Since then he has collected lost things. The things he finds when he’s out walking. He meticulously labels and keeps them and hopes to reunite these objects with their owners although he doesn’t really know how to do so.
Laura started working for Anthony a number of years ago. Her marriage broke down, she finally shook of her philandering husband but had very little else in her life until she took up this job. Originally as Anthony’s assistant, typing up his stories and then as the stories dry up she continues almost as his housekeeper but really more than that as a friend. When Anthony passes away he leaves his house and his little emporium of objects to Laura and requests that she tries to reunite them with their owners. So, unexpectedly Laura finds herself with a lovely home and a purpose all in one unexpected blow.
Sunshine is the girl next door. What a lovely character she is, quirky and with a beautiful nature. A character that really does live up to her name. Freddy is the gardener, and of course he’s the rugged mind candy of the piece – nothing wrong with some mind candy every now and again imho.
Alongside this we have a parallel story which takes place some years earlier involving a young woman called Eunice and her best friend Bomber. This is a story of unrequited love that grows into a deep friendship. Also a story of things lost and found.
So, this is, without doubt a story that is sweet. A treacly confection, dripping with syrup and oozing with sugar. There is no suspense. You pretty much know that all of these things are simply going to work out. Really, there isn’t any particular attention to detail, and as a nitpicker I do like my attention to detail. And yet, in spite of all of this, I loved it. So there you go. Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles. I had my cake and I ate it, cherry on top, the lot.
The writing is lovely, the book has a charming whimsical feel, a budding romance and a general overall coming together of all things in a very pleasing way. New beginnings and bursting with hope. On top of that there are a collection of lovely sideline stories – Anthony used to write imaginary stories about the objects he found – or more to the point the people who lost them – and they really are quite inspired.
The Keeper of Lost Things hooked me more than I expected and for the short time it took me to blast through the pages it held me in my own little bubble of bliss. A little keeper this one.
I received a copy courtesy of the publisher for which my thanks. The above is my own opinion.