The Keeper of Lost Things

Review From User :

This is a delightful, charming, and comic read set in London and Brighton which I adored. Laura is a divorced and broken woman for whom intimacy has proved to be a disappointment. She finds employment as housekeeper and assistant to writer Anthony Peardew, who experienced heartbreak with the loss of his beloved Therese on his wedding day. That event has coloured and haunted his entire life, with guilt over a broken promise, a lost communion medal, and led to the enormous collection of lost items which he has found with the hope of reuniting them with their owners. He dies, leaving his home, Padua, to Laura for whom it is a sanctuary, with a condition that she makes efforts to restore the lost items to their true owners. Whilst owning Padua brings security and delight to Laura, the real prize turns out to be the task Anthony sets for it offers Laura a path toward resurrecting her life again, tenuously learning to trust people and connect with the world again.

With faltering steps, Laura befriends the extraordinary girl that is Sunshine, a downs syndrome child who has been bullied. Sunshine is special and has the capacity to see and understand things that elude Laura, particularly when it comes to a irascible and troubled ghost and the lost items. Laura, Freddy, the gardener, Sunshine, and Carrot, a rescued dog, begin to connect as a unit slowly developing the strength to overcome obstacles such as the ugly local rumours concerning Laura. There is a parallel story about Eunice and Bomber, and the tragedies and triumphs that litter their lives through time. The storylines do eventually connect. Interspersed throughout we have entrancing and shocking tales of some of the lost items, and the various situations that the owners found themselves in. Laura, with the help of Freddy and Sunshine, sets up a website documenting the lost collection only to find it becomes so much more than she envisaged.

Ruth Hogan has weaved an intelligent, magical and fantastical tale of loss, love, heartbreak, redemption and hope. It is infused with whimsy and laugh out loud humour. It is beautifully written, and wonderfully descriptive. The wide ranging characters are what really makes the book, including the minor ones like the monstrous Portia and her ghastly novels. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is an enchanting contemporary fairytale and a great read. Many thanks to John Murray Press for an ARC.


A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.

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 fiancee, 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?

Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook.

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