Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

What makes Anthony Peardew, a writer of short stories, turn his study into a museum of random items he has found in the world outside? There’s a child’s umbrella, a piece from a jigsaw, a bobble hair-tie, and even a biscuit tin filled with what looks like somebody’s ashes, just for starters.

Laura, Peardew’s assistant/housekeeper, inherits this strange collection when Peardew dies, and is left the dubious task of returning the items to their rightful owners. Fortunately she has help from Sunshine, her neighbour who has Down Syndrome and an almost psychic ability for understanding signals most people miss, as well as Freddie, the good-looking gardener who makes Laura oddly shy.

As the novel progresses, two other story threads emerge – that of Anthony and his relationship with his lovely Therese, who dies suddenly on the day of their wedding. Then there is the publisher, Bomber, and his close friend/assistant Eunice, whose story has intermittent connections with the main action.

Peardew’s droll little stories written around some of the objects and Hogan’s use of humour can’t quite prevent the novel from becoming a little twee at times. However, I did enjoy the Bomber/Eunice thread and their dealings with Bomber’s horrible sister who has literary aspirations. While you can pretty much predict how things will turn out, for some reason you don’t mind too much because the characters are so sympathetic.

A charming, quirky novel that is a quick and relaxing read, recommended for anyone who enjoyed The Reader on the 6.27, or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Posted by JAM

Catalogue link: The Keeper of Lost Things

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