Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

Charles Bramwell Brockley was travelling alone and without a ticket on the 14.42 from London Bridge to Brighton. The Huntley & 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.

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 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….

I am going to be brutally honest here. When I first started this book I was not very impressed. The first couple of chapters felt rather saccharine, predictable and the characters felt somewhat two dimensional. I did not have high hopes.

However, once the aptly named Sunshine appears in the story all that changed. It was as though her character really did breathe life and well…. sunshine into all the characters and immediately this became a book I very much wanted to continue reading. The presence of her character enabled the plot, setting and other characters to become fully rounded and I thought that Ms. Hogan’s use of dark and shade were admirable and an extremely clever writing device.

I really like the way the house and garden are virtually characters within their own right. They are both extremely significant to the story and I could almost smell the fragrance of the rose garden. The pretty front cover also hints at this significance.

It has a fairy tale quality complete with some supernatural happenings which give the plot some added interest. What could have been a simple romantic tale, Ms. Hogan adds some magic to the mix and creates a wonderful feel-good story which anyone who fancies a bit of light-hearted escapism will enjoy reading. 

In the words of Sunshine, I am now "going to make the lovely cup of tea.” Happy reading.

ISBN: 978 1473635487

Publisher: Two Roads

About the Author:

In her own words – “I was born in the house where my parents still live in Bedford. My sister was so pleased to have a sibling that she threw a thrupenny bit at me.

As a child, I loved the Brownies but hated the Guides, was obsessed with ponies and read everything I could lay my hands on. Luckily, my mum worked in a bookshop. My favourite reads were The Moonmintrolls, A Hundred Million Francs, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and the back of cereal packets, and gravestones.

I passed enough O and A levels to get a place at Goldsmiths College, University of London, to study English and Drama. It was brilliant and I loved it. And then I got a proper job.

I worked for ten years in a senior local government position (Human Resources – Recruitment, Diversity and Training.) I was a square peg in a round hole, but it paid the bills and mortgage.

In my early thirties I had a car accident which left me unable to work full-time and convinced me to start writing seriously. I got a part-time job as an osteopath’s receptionist and spent all my spare time writing.

It was all going well, but then in 2012 I got cancer, which was bloody inconvenient but precipitated an exciting hair journey from bald to a peroxide blonde Annie Lennox crop. When chemo kept me up all night I passed the time writing and the eventual result was The Keeper of Lost Things.

I live in a chaotic Victorian house with an assortment of rescue dogs and my long suffering partner. I spend all my free time writing, or thinking about it, and have notebooks in every room so that I can write down any ideas before I forget them. I am a magpie; always collecting treasures (or ‘junk’ depending on your point of view) and a huge John Betjeman fan.

Mu favourite word is antimacassar and I still like reading gravestones.”

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