The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

keeper-of-lost-things

I was given a proof of this novel back in August and came across it in my TBR pile this week, just in time for its publication date. This isn’t my usual choice of book but I was pleasantly surprised. It is a very gentle novel but with an engaging story and I read the entire thing in a couple of sittings. I was very impressed by the structure of the book as Hogan weaves two stories together with multiple vignettes, and it works.

Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly collecting lost objects, trying to atone for a promise broken many years before.

Realising he is running out of time, he leaves his house and all its lost treasures to his assistant Laura, the one person he can trust to fulfil his legacy and reunite the thousands of objects with their rightful owners.

But the final wishes of the ‘Keeper of Lost Things’ have unforeseen repercussions which trigger a most serendipitous series of encounters…

This is Laura’s story and she did win me over. I thought that her character was developed nicely over the course of the novel, from a recently divorced woman afraid that she had nothing going for her to finding love (and a bit of wealth courtesy of Anthony Peardew). Her friendship with Sunshine, a young Down’s syndrome woman, was a highlight as I don’t think enough author’s consider including characters with disability, and Hogan didn’t sugarcoat the frustration that Laura sometimes felt when she wanted time alone.

Is it a criticism to say that the story arc was completely predictable? I’m not sure whether readers of this genre would want a twist or to be unsure how the story would end. Because of this it didn’t bother me too much that the ending was entirely inevitable. This could have been a pretty standard romance story but by including the second storyline, a bittersweet tale of unrequited love and great friendship, Hogan adds another dimension. I loved the little vignettes where we discover the provenance of the lost objects (again, some very sad, others happier). There was enough there to make this a satisfying read if you’re after something light and uplifting.

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