Lost Property by Helen Paris – Book review

Talk about pulling on my heart strings! Lost Property brings us the completely endearing Dorothea (Dot) Watson and her journey with loss – both emotionally and literally. The way it is written conveys the trickier side of human emotion in such a tender and loving way.

Opening sentence: It’s church-like down here, shadowy with unlikely congregations: wine bottles, prams, a funeral urn.

Meet the lovely Dot

Dot works at the Lost Property office for Transport for London. A wondrous cave of everything lost on transport. I really liked the scenes describing Dot’s workplace. The idea of all these abandoned items having a story of their own and the way Dot really cares about reuniting them with their owners made me feel fuzzy and warm.

You see, I know about loss. I know its shape, its weak spots, its corners and sharp edges.

In her personal life, Dot is dealing with a variety of emotional loss. Her father has died, her mother has dementia and her relationship with her only sibling, her sister, is fractured due to their very different personalities.

So the two threads of this book are seamlessly woven together. Exploring the lighter and darker sides of loss – the contrast works wonderfully and develops into a rich back story for Dot and her family.

Don’t lose who you really are

What I loved about Lost Property was how it tackled quite heavy subjects in a gentle and approachable way that many readers will be able to translate back into elements of their own experience.

As a child, Dot wanted to be a librarian and travel the world, she now collects travel guides as her passion is still there. (Travel guides are not something I ever considered reading for fun but they are the perfect form of escapism when you think about it.) She has to work out why she abandoned her dreams, address issues from her past and reunite a very special piece of lost property with its owner.

There were echoes of Eleanor Oliphant in Dot’s character. I loved Dot’s slightly archaic way of speaking, her wry observations and her heart of gold. She also has a darker edge to her story arc that I wasn’t expecting but really made me feel for her and invest in the story so much more.

Highly emotive and highly engrossing, I really valued my time discovering Dot’s story. Lost Property is a little gem that I definitely recommend adding to your reading list.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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