Thursday, May 24, 2018

[Book Review] The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Book Review of The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan is a novel revolving around loss and heartbreak, yet it is filled to the brim with love and hope, with a nice splash of the paranormal.

I was drawn right into this story immediately and had so much fun reading it. I'm very thankful that this was the book pick for May with my book club!

Let's dive in to my review!

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan


Synopsis:
Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.

Bone china cup and saucer—Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.

Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.

Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.

Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.

As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?


My thoughts:
My goodness... this book. It was such a powerful tale of loss, love, heartbreak, and hope.

The story hit me really hard, especially with where I am currently in life, quickly approaching my wedding day. While reading, I thought a lot about my fiancé, Alex. I am just so thankful to have him in my life!

The story was set in two narratives that worked so wonderfully together. I really enjoyed that each centered around loss and love, but in slightly different ways. This was also a rare case where I enjoyed each storyline equally!

The novel was written so beautifully. The descriptions of certain elements, both large and small, and organization of the two narratives were just perfect. I loved how some things (again, some small, some large) circled back and connected to others; I'm a total sucker for when authors use this method. I also really appreciated the laugh-out-loud humor that was sprinkled in as well as the lovely short stories about each lost item that we were given the chance to read.

On that note, the whole idea of cataloguing lost items was so extraordinary to me! I ate this idea right up and I couldn't wait to learn more about the items. I would definitely read a companion novel that was just the short stories for each item in the collection!

I felt that each character included in the story was perfect for the role that they played. I really felt for Laura and the tough things she was dealing with; I was saddened by Anthony's heartbreak; I was intrigued by the slight mysteriousness with Freddy; I enjoyed the excitement of Bombers personality; I adored the loyalty of Eunice; I was infuriated with Portia's ridiculousness; and I couldn't help but grin every time Sunshine was in the scene.

There were a few elements in the story that were a bit clichéd. Some of my book club friends had a really hard time with these elements, but I actually loved them! I'm all for the clichéd romance complete with the ridiculous hiccups while the two settle into the relationship.

The one slight negative with this novel that I have to point out is that it was a little difficult to follow the timeline. I'd love to go back and reread this one to see if I had a hard time simply because I had missed something small.


Book club activity:
For our book club, the ice breaker was so wonderful! We each picked a piece of paper out of a bag, on that paper was an item. The leader of this month's discussion gave each of us the item that matched our paper. Then we were to write a quick story about the item in the same format that was included in the story; how that item was lost.

Here is my story:

Red glass bauble —Found, under the Christmas tree, Portsmouth, NH 25th December.

Frustrated with another year of poor gift giving, Tom was walking down the streets of Portsmouth headed to the center of town with his family. Under the Christmas tree, a few ornaments had dropped off the tree and smashed. Seeing a red ornament that had cracked and left the center hollow, Tom decided it was the perfect hiding place for the red glass ball that his grandmother bought for him thinking it was a fushigi that he had wanted so badly this year...

It definitely wasn't the strongest story of the bunch, but I did win third place!


My favorite passages:
The midnight summer sky was a watercolor wash of darkness with a glitter of tiny stars thrown across it.

The lace panels at the French windows lifted and fell in rhythm with the evening air which breathed gently through the crack in the frame.

He looked important. Uncertain how to greet a person of such standing, Sunshine bobbed a little curtsy and offered him a high five.

Things always look better in the morning. It wasn’t the sunlight that poked fun at Laura’s imperfections, but the darkness with its looming doubt that mocked her in the sleepless spells that broke the night.


My final thoughts:
I just adored this book! I really loved each of the characters, I enjoyed the deep friendships that were portrayed, and the overall plot and pacing kept me absolutely hooked. There were a few elements that I wish had been developed a bit more, but it was still a lovely read!

I would highly recommend this book with just one caution about the cliched tropes which, of course, I thought were done very well!

This book will certainly make you look twice at items left behind by their owners.




Thanks for reading!
Feel like completing the same prompt that my book club did? Snag a random item from where you are currently sitting, list out what it is and then take only 5 minutes to write a story about how it was "lost"! I'd love to read what you come up with!
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18 comments:

  1. What a fun book club activity! Yay for getting third place. This book sounds so lovely, and I don't mind cliches sometimes - they can be done well!! I love that the book includes little short stories about some of the lost items.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Right?! It was such a great idea! I definitely recommend this book! I'd love to hear your thoughts if you pick it up!

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  2. This sounds like such a charming book! And the book club activity sounds fun as well.

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  3. Dang! Now you’re making me want to read it.

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  4. I wish the book club I had been in did things like that...

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  5. Congrats on getting third place! I liked your story. And how fun. Glad this was an awesome read. :)

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  6. Well done on third place! I need to find a book club. What a lovely review, and the book does sound like it would be right up my street to read

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    1. Thank you!! :) I hope you find a bookclub soon! I discovered mine through meetup.com

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  7. Ah I love good friendships in books! This one seems so beautiful - inside and out. That cover though <3
    Lovely review Erica :)

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  8. I always gravitate towards this book at the bookstore because the cover is so pretty! I need to add to my TBR after reading your review.

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  9. The cover is beautiful. I am always all for flowers. And even though this one is so emotional and heavy at times, I like that it has some hope in it too. That's the best kind of combination to me. I don't know how I'll feel about the dash of paranormal but I think I could roll with it?

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    1. For sure!! I'm a sucker for covers with flowers on them as well. The paranormal was centered around a ghost. It was pretty light! A few people in my book club thought it was unnecessary, but I enjoyed it!

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