Congratulations to Ruth Hogan on producing a charming debut novel, The Keeper of Lost Things. This is one of those lovely books in which seemingly disconnected, unrelated threads of the story come together in the most satisfying way if the reader simply trusts the writer. Well-done!
Anthony is an elderly writer whose one true love, Therese died forty years ago. Brokenhearted, Anthony began collecting and cataloging misplaced, left-behind items and writing stories about them.
Laura is at last set loose from an awful marriage and comes to work as Anthony’s assistant.
Eunice is an assistant in a small publishing house hopelessly in love with her boss, Bomber who can never love her back.
And Sunshine, the neighbor girl whose oddly acute perceptions are often discounted because she has a learning disability.
And the hunky gardener, Freddy.
Add to that the delightfully (or deplorably) quirky cast of sisters, exes, aging parents, dogs, and long-time friends. The mix is just right.
Anthony dies, leaving the house and everything in it to Laura and tasking her with returning his roomful of lost things. But Therese still seems to inhabit the house, playing music, stopping clocks, and leaving the scent of roses where there should be none. And why is that door to her room locked from the inside?
The effect is not spooky, but magical, making perfectly sane, rational people doubt their own judgment.
A few quotes to highlight Hogan’s humor, heart, and skill.
“Laura had been lost; hopelessly adrift. Kept afloat, but barely, by an unhappy combination of Prozac, pinot grigio, and pretending things weren’t happening.”
“Years later, she once asked Lilia how she had known that he was the man she should marry and Lilia told her. Because he loved her anyway…no matter how ill her temper, how sunburned her face, how dreadful her cooking, James loved her anyway.”
“He was almost gone now. Just a worn-out body remained, barely ticking over, breaths too shallow to lift even the butterfly’s wings.”
Recommend. And I’ll come back for more from this promising author.