The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan
Opening sentence: “Charles Bramwell Brockley was travelling alone and without a ticket on the 14:42 from London Bridge to Brighton.”
Don’t you just love it when you finish a book and realise it’s unlike any other you’ve read? The Keeper of Lost Things was such a revelation, with a unique, whimsical story that had me hooked from the above opening sentence.
Anthony Peardew gives the book its title. He meticulously documents everything lost that he finds when out and about – from a random puzzle piece to a biscuit tin full of (human!) ashes. He does this to try and make up for losing something very special to him, hoping to reunite some of the lost things with their owners and give someone back the happiness he feels he has lost.
This novel has two main narratives – the first is told by Laura, Anthony’s housekeeper, who, upon his death, becomes the owner of Anthony’s house and along with Freddy (the gardener) and Sunshine (a local girl who befriends Laura), has been tasked with returning as many of the lost things Anthony has collected back to their owners.
The second thread is told by Eunice, who works as an assistant to publisher, Bomber. They develop such a tender relationship through the book, it’s just a joy to read. A special mention has to go to Bomber’s sister, Portia, who although is quite a dislikable character, her attempts to get her brother to publish one of her manuscripts are hilarious, cumulating in her 50 Shades meets Harry Potter tome, Harriet Hotter and the Gobstopper Phone...
Like the above example, there are many smaller story threads running throughout, including little anecdotes about who the lost things Anthony found belonged to, a majority have a dark edge to them, which really adds further depth to this book. All the stories are intricately woven into the main narratives but, crucially, don’t feel forced or too much, the whole read was expertly balanced, enhanced by the perfect symmetry at the climax of the stories.
The ending did indeed bring a tear to my eye, there were also moments that made me laugh out loud, and even a touch of the supernatural thrown in there too, pretty much the ideal mix. If you love reading brilliantly written, feel-good, interesting stories (and surely that’s everyone??) then add this to your TBR list now!