The Keeper of Lost Things (Click for link to Amazon) by Ruth Hogan. Narrated by Jane Collingwood, Sandra Duncan and a mystery man.
This book deserves all the accolades showered upon it and I know I’m late to the party, but goodness me it was well worth waiting for. Brava, Ruth Hogan! This book is a gem, utterly enchanting. Can’t recommend highly enough.
I’ve worked out why I waited so long to delve into this story and it’s not merely because I’m a slow reader and will never get through the pile of books yet to be read.
When I finished listening to the last words of The Keeper of Lost Things and sighed, it all made sense. Being read to as a child, tucked up in bed, was always the highlight of my day and a good audiobook brings the same sense of contentment. Staying with the wonder of childhood as an analogy, this book is also reminiscent of the special Christmas gift that calls to us from under the tree. We leave it until last before unwrapping it, in excited anticipation of what it may bring, because it should be savoured.
The Keeper of Lost Things has been calling to me for months, and yet I resisted. I think I desperately wanted it to be that special present; the one that makes your heart lurch. Having finished it, I can safely say it is just that. I’m ordering my own paperback copy to keep. Wouldn’t want to lose this one!
About the book:
Winner of the Richard and Judy autumn book club 2017.
One of the Mail on Sunday’s ‘Best books for the beach this summer’
Meet the Keeper of Lost Things….
Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life 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….
What are my thoughts?
This story was thoroughly captivating, in part because of Ruth Hogan’s ability to paint magical pictures with words, but also because the story itself, despite exploring dark subjects, is such an endearing one.
How do we categorise this book? ‘Up-lit’, is the favoured term, apparently. Uplifting literature it is indeed and is a wonderfully woven tale of love, loss, redress and reconciliation all anchored in a strong sense of place, Padua, the house where the lost things are carefully kept. The composition is cleverly thought through, intelligent, competent and so true to life. Classy.
The idea for the book arose from an opening line. The first paragraph had me hooked.
Charles Bramwell Brockley was travelling alone and without a ticket on the 14.42 from London Bridge to Brighton. The Huntley and Palmers biscuit tin in which he was travelling teetered precariously on the edge of the seat as the train juddered to a halt at Haywards Heath. But just as it toppled forward towards the carriage floor it was gathered up by a safe pair of hands.
Although the story involves the perceptive exploration of loss, of death and of regret, the book is joyful in its humour and positivity. Ruth Hogan’s optimistic soul shines from the pages. Well-rounded characters, who are hard not to become overly attached to, complete the component parts of what is a superb book.
The Performance: Writers and readers alike will have formed the voices of the characters and see them in their heads as they either write or absorb the words in any given book. However, experiencing an audiobook is somewhat different. We rely on the narrators to interpret the words for us and be true to the writing. As an audiobook, the publishers/producers of The Keeper of Lost Things should be commended for taking the step of using a number of narrators. This is not an easy book to do audio justice to for the simple reason that there are intertwining stories and an important cast of characters, central to which is Anthony Peardew himself, and yet the male narrator has not been credited. Odd. He has a lovely voice, as have the other two narrators who have done a sterling job. I was completely lost in the story (pun intended).
Not wanting to spoil anything, but if you intend listening to this then I would suggest you plug your earphones in and settle down with ‘the lovely cup of tea’ to savour every moment of this story without too many interruptions. In the meantime I look forward to disappearing into Ruth’s next book, The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, which was inspired by her walks in a local Victorian garden cemetery. (www.fosterhillroadcemetery.co.uk)