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'The Keeper of Lost Things'

by Janet B. Carson | August 22, 2022 at 7:43 a.m.




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Our online book club met last night, minus one member (but she sent in her review).  The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan was a light, but enjoyable read with a lot of very likeable characters.  Four out of five of us really enjoyed the book, but the person who chose it disliked it immensely—giving it a 1 rating.
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 She felt like the whole premise of the book was dumb, the characters were depressing, and the writing was dull.  We were all somewhat amazed. Two members ranked it a 3.5, two of us gave it a 4, but it came in with a 3.2 rating with Karen’s 1.
The book begins and ends with a tin of ashes on a train.  The book is actually two stories woven together, 40 years apart.  Both stories come together in the end, and perhaps get wrapped up a bit too quickly, but it worked for me.  I like happy endings.
One story line is about a man, Anthony, a writer, who collects lost items he just finds at random.  He lost the love of his life on his wedding day, and lost something she gave him, so over the years he collected things, and wrote stories based on the items he found.  Towards the end of his life, he takes in Laura as his housekeeper/assistant.  She has suffered from a bad marriage and is a bit depressed to begin with, but falls in love with Anthony’s house and way of life.  She becomes the keeper of lost things and begins to heal.
The other story is about a publisher, Bomber, and his assistant Eunice starting 40 years earlier, and covers their journey.  Unrequited love, family love, and dog love are big parts of their story. The theme of the book in my opinion is loss and recovery.  All of the characters lose something important to them, and as they heal, they recover.  I thoroughly enjoyed the small stories about the lost items throughout the book, but that is one of my questions—who wrote them?  As I was reading the book, I thought Anthony wrote them, but as we continue reading, all of the short stories are true about the items.  So, did the real author (Ruth Hogan) write them, did Anthony, or did Laura, whom we find out at the end has written this book?  
At times it started to get a bit too much like a typical romance novel, and some of the magic or ghost parts may have been unnecessary to the story, but it was a pleasant read and a very nice story.  I would recommend you read it—Karen would not!
If you have read this, what did you think, and share your opinion on who wrote the mini stories.  
I have been reading a lot. I am almost finished with the CJ Box Joe Pickens series, and still hooked on Ann Cleeves and Deborah Crombie.   I also read some of your suggestions--The Lioness (not my favorite), The Maid (a good read), and Jeff Abbot's Blame (weird story line).   Any more suggestions?
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