The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel

The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel

by Ruth Hogan

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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 fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidently 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 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062473578
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 557
File size: 724 KB

About the Author

Ruth Hogan describes herself as a “rapacious reader, writer, and incorrigible magpie” whose own love of small treasures and curiosities and the people around her inspired her first novel. She lives north of London.

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The Keeper of Lost Things: A Novel 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Lost things: people, confidence, items and even relationships and trust and hope. The possibilities are endless. And Ruth Hogan brings us the stories of Laura, Anthony, Sunshine, Eunice and Bomber, gently unearthing their own lost items, and bringing them new connections and growth through seemingly forgotten items. Laura has lost hope in finding that connection that comes with intimacy: divorced and rather aimless, she takes a position as housekeeper and assistant to the writer Anthony Peardew. A gentle man, his own love was lost on his wedding day, and he has merely existed in his own world. Never loving again as he mourns the loss of his love and guilt over a small communion medallion he was never able to find, he’s turned that into a mission. He finds lost items everywhere, brings them home, creates little stories that may tell their tales. A nebulous hope that someday, the items can be returned to those who lost them have driven him. In this way, Laura is yet another lost item to him: one that he must help and stir to grow and trust in others, moving to find her lost place in the world. An elderly man, he left his home, Padua, to Laura when he passed, giving her the security she so craved with a task to complete to push her growth. Laura is tasked with finding the owners of the many lost items in the home: to do so, she must venture out and interact. She had made tentative steps to friendship in Freddy, the gardener, but none of her moves have been life altering, yet. Then she meets Sunshine, a girl with Down’s Syndrome who has suffered at the hand of bullies, but still manages to see deep within people, recognizing their needs for friendship, trust, acceptance and love. Quietly the three (Laura, Freddy and Sunshine) find confidence in their new relationships, that confidence and the support giving them further impetus to continue moving forward. Another story parallels this for a while: that of Eunice and Bomber, and their friendship and difficulties they encountered through their life, as the story rounds to fill in and connect with Laura, and the secrets Eunice had kept for far too long. Gently, everyone’s past is revealed: good, bad and even difficult (as in Portia – Bomber’s sister) in a way that allows you to understand and see just how things went wrong for them at the moment, even as they are starting to change. Quietly absorbing, there are moments that are light and fun, others that may feel a bit too sweetly naïve, but the overall impression is everything ends as it should, finding great growth for Laura, as she finds her own new footing in a life of her choosing. With secrets long held and the fears that surround them, the missing objects once returned bring new opportunities and outlooks. There aren’t huge ups and downs in this story, being more a testament to the meaning of a returned item – whether it be tangible like a locket or intangible confidence and renewal of belief in life. A wonderful debut, layered and complex with plenty to grab attention and imagination. A certain favorite read for me, and perfect for those who like a gradually unfolding story, gently revealing in each page until the picture is complete. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel is AMAZING! The characters are well developed, the stories are captivating, and the cover art is also really gorgeous! 10/10 would recommend!
Natalie Bychok 10 days ago
would definitely recommend
Wendy Fults 23 days ago
This one leaves your spirit soaring and encourages you to reflect on the artifacts that define the poignant moments where meaningful, often transitional detours in one's life have occurred. I became absolutely enthralled with the stories fabricated from the detritus of losing some small worldly possession morphed into life- changing detours on one's path in life. I hope you enjoy it and laugh as much as I did at some of the wit in the telling.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the structure and pattern of this story - plus it has all the delightful things - a little mystery, a little magic, a little tea.
BMedvid More than 1 year ago
“Anthony saw all of this in Laura and knew that he had chosen well. She understood that everything had a value greater than money; it had a story, a memory, and most importantly a unique place in the life of Padua.” Short story writer, Anthony Peardew, tragically lost the love of his life too early. As a result, he spent the remainder of his life lovingly collecting and cataloging lost items (such as buttons, puzzle pieces, and cremated ashes). He did this with the hope of bringing joy to people by reuniting them with their special lost items. As the novel begins, Anthony is near the end of his life and decides to leave his sanctuary-like house, named Padua, to his housekeeper Laura with the request that she continues his work of trying to reunite the lost items with their owners. Thus begins Laura’s story as she works through this request, comes to know Anthony’s full story, makes Padua her home, heals her own wounds, and steps out into “real life”. I finished this book and immediately thought – what a sweet book! Not sweet in the saccharine sense, but in a charming, feel-good way. To me, this book was reminiscent of A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. Hogan masterfully wove stories within stories. As Laura’s story progressed, Anthony’s story unfolded and the stories behind many of the lost items were revealed. The characters in each of the narratives danced around one other – sometimes coming together and interacting, and other times only being in each other’s orbit. I found it refreshing that the author did not feel the need to connect everyone in the end. Hogan’s novel was imbued with British humor that had me laughing out loud throughout the book. There was also a touch of the mystical as the ghost of Anthony’s fiancée, Therese, made her restless presence known by haunting Padua. I also appreciated many of the author’s references like naming Anthony after Saint Anthony of Padua (the patron saint of lost things) and his last name Peardew was suggestive of the French word “perdu” meaning lost. Obviously, the theme of loss played a major role in this novel. Even the characters that were drawn to Padua (Laura, Freddy the gardener, Sunshine the neighbor, and Sunshine’s parents) were lost people who found solace, sanctuary, and healing in the house. Other themes included grief, reunion, love, and how seemingly insignificant things/moments/people can have powerful meanings. I loved this book. Ruth Hogan presents a cleverly imaginative and whimsical novel. After I finished reading it and understood the arc of the story, I wanted to go back and reread it immediately to find and appreciate more of the author’s nuisances. I highly recommend this book – settle in with “the lovely cup of tea” and enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book but it was painful to read. I kept on thinking what am I missing. It dragged on and on. About halfway through the book I said enough. Reviews said what a charming book. I thought what a boring book.
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
A pleasantly tangled tale of different lives that may or may not be real, Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things invites readers to look through different eyes, at different lives and tragedies, and at the things we leave behind. Is a tiny ruby the reject from a broken engagement? Is the man watching movies related to the woman who dies outside a cake shop? And will the cleaning lady rise to meet the better life she deserves? The story’s told in an enthralling blend of different times and place, viewpoints and realities, making it truly difficult to put down. It might be moderately confusing at times, but it’s a satisfying sort of confusion, begging the reader to think and rethink answers and ideas. And it all holds together beautifully, jigsaw pieces falling into place or lying honorably discarded. The characters each have hidden depths, pleasantly and gently revealed with no artificial dives into backstory or motivation. Hidden connections are equally smooth and believable. And the whole is an absorbing story that leaves you delighted to have met these people, and maybe even a little changed, a little more open to meeting the strangers who enter our own lives. Disclosure: I borrowed a copy and now I want to buy my own to keep on my shelf!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Somewhat disappointing . The title holds a lot of promise. The premise is lovely but the quality was underdeveloped. It could have a totally different book with more depth. All in all, okay, but not much more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Between tears and giggles I realized i didn't want this book to ever end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was intriguing & interestingly wonderful! I enjoyed learning about the lost things & continued guessing as to how the stories tied to one another...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read Write some more, Ms Hogan!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An outstanding tale.
SheTreadsSoftly More than 1 year ago
The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan is a highly recommended debut novel that follows the lives of two British assistants and explores connections between people. Anthony Peardew is an elderly writer and the keeper of lost things. He hired Laura, an unhappy 35-year-old divorcée, as an assistant, several years earlier and they have a compatible, understanding working relationship. Peardew lost the love of his life, Therese forty years ago, on the same day he lost a keepsake she had given him. Since that time he has been quietly collecting and cataloguing any lost things he finds, storing them in his study in Padua, the Victorian villa where he lives and works. He also writes stories about these lost items. In 1970 Eunice finds a job as a publisher's assistant for the charming Bomber. This also marked the start of their life-long friendship. Bomber owns a small publishing house where he only publishes books that he likes, while also studiously avoiding any of the manuscripts sent to him by his sister, Portia, whose work features blatantly plagiarized plots. When Anthony Peardew dies, he leaves his estate and Padua to Laura. He also instructs her to try and find the owners of the lost things he has so carefully collected. With help from Freddy the gardener, and Sunshine, the young woman with Down syndrome who lives across the street, Laura sets out to follow Anthony's wishes. When the ghost of Therese begins to act up, she knows that she is missing some vital clue. With alternating chapters, the novel follows the stories of Laura and Eunice. Interspersed among the chapters are some of the short stories that Anthony wrote about the lost things he found. There are parts of this novel that are charming, delightful, and clever. And there are parts that stretch credulity and belief. The quality of the writing in this debut novel is really quite good. It is humorous, touching, emotional, and clever. The descriptions are wonderful. The two plots/timelines are both equally interesting. The short stories written about the items are compelling and become a part of the whole story. The Keeper of Lost Things truly is a charming story, slow to start but then it quickly picks up and is an enjoyable novel, with some romance and a pleasant plot. There is a lot of tea made and consumed. The characters are well developed, including the minor characters and the dogs. Freddie is an obvious romantic interest and Sunshine is a compatible, amicable sidekick. Portia is suitably reprehensible. The dogs are all quite brilliant characters who add a special charm to the novel. Of the two, I was actually more interested in and intrigued by Bomber and Eunice's story. I liked them both and was sad to say goodbye to them. My credulity was stretched with the ghost, Laura's romance with Freddy, and Sunshine's psychic ability. This is an agreeable, light novel that is easy to follow and as cozy as a cup of hot tea on a winter's day. The caliber of the writing elevates it above an average rating for me, but personally I would have enjoyed more Eunice and Bomber. Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from HarperCollins for TLC Book Tours
Twink More than 1 year ago
I am a collector of 'things' - old things, interesting things and yes, things I find. I always wonder about the person who owned them, lost them or discarded them. I knew I was going to love Ruth Hogan's debut novel, The Keeper of Lost Things. Anthony Peardew also collects things - ever since the day his fiancee died and he lost the one thing that he promised her he would always cherish. His goal is the find the owners of those lost articles. But, his time is drawing near and he decides to bequeath his house and the lost things project to his assistant Laura. A parallel story with its own lost and found had me wondering if the two tales would eventually meet - and how they might tie together. "She had been dead for forty years, but she was still his life, and her death had given him his purpose. It had made Anthony Peardew the Keeper of Lost Things." Oh there is so much to love about this book. The characters first and foremost. They're all eclectically (and wonderfully) a little left of center. Impossible not to like and not to root for. The premise is intriguing as I've mentioned. I loved the back stories that Hogan created for some of the lost items. Hair bobbles, an umbrella, a glove and more. Some happy, some tragic. The plots of some disastrous books written by an aspiring author had me laughing out loud. Hogan's writing flows so well and drew me into her story immediately. She weaves a delicious, heartwarming tale of love, loss, hope, redemption, romance and humour with a helping of magical realism that absolutely delighted me. I loved it!
Thebooktrail-com More than 1 year ago
The man in the book is the keeper of lost things as he has lost something precious of his own. He comforts himself with the feeling that one day, he just might be able to reunite the lost items with their owners. He stores them carefully and writes stories about them imagining how they came to be lost. Anthony’s lasting wish is for his assistant, Laura, to continue his work. At the same time, another couple, in another era are living in similar circumstances to Anthony and Laura. Lost souls looking after each other whilst hiding from the world a little. Both worlds weave together to form a heartwarming picture. And believe me, the joy is in the unravelling... The stories linked to each item are a hoot but also very emotionally charged and poignant. If I ever see a piece of blue jigsaw now....! Sunshine’s observations in particular are charming all on their own. There’s a lot of love and charm packaged neatly in this book. Open it carefully and revel in the Sunshine which beams from its pages.Close your eyes when finished and thank Anthony for bringing magic into your life (and Ruth Hogan of course - she is an emotional wizard!)
Suze-Lavender More than 1 year ago
Anthony keeps every lost thing he finds, no matter how small. The things he's looking after mean something to someone. He knows he doesn't have much time left and when he dies he leaves his assistant Laura his house with all the lost items. He wants her to take care of them and he hopes she'll be able to find the owners of the treasures he's lovingly kept for them. Will she be able to fulfill his last wish? Laura needs a second chance. After a bad marriage she's ready for happiness in her life. It's something she's almost forgotten about and Anthony's legacy brings her exactly what she'd been missing for a very long time. The company of Freddy, the gardener, and Sunshine, a girl from the neighborhood, is doing her good. Will Laura be able, with some help from her wonderful new friends, to return Anthony's lost things to their owners? The Keeper of Lost Things is a beautiful story. Ruth Hogan describes Laura's new task and the changes she's going through in a great vivid way. She also tells the possible stories behind the things Anthony has collected over the years. There are several items and histories that are somehow connected and their main purpose becomes clear at the ending of the book, which is something I absolutely loved. Ruth Hogan combines gorgeous words with cherished memories. I especially loved that she shows her readers that something that might seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things can mean the world to someone. Ruth Hogan has written a fantastic creative novel. I was impressed from the first sentence and liked every chapter. Some stories made me smile and others made me tear up. Every single one of them is valuable and precious. The Keeper of Lost Things is a special story. It's original, compelling and entertaining. It made me curious and it sparked my imagination. I really enjoyed reading this amazing book.
Rosemary-Standeven More than 1 year ago
I have just spent a wonderful day reading this extraordinary book, accompanied by beautiful music and by turns laughing out loud and blubbing my eyes out. It is impossible to read this book and not be profoundly moved. The characters are so lovingly drawn (except the despicable Portia), but best of all is Sunshine, the “dancing drome”. Everybody needs a bit of Sunshine in their lives. The writing is always superb, but really excels when the short vignettes of the memories attached to the “Lost Things” appear. Anthony’s final plea to Laura is to reunite the “sad salmagundi of forty years gathered in, labelled and given a home” with their former owners “so that if you can make just one person happy, mend one broken heart by restoring to them what they have lost then it will have all been worthwhile”. Each memento has a life of its own, a story to tell. There is undying love – some lost, some unrequited and some fulfilled. There are wonderful friendships. The unbearable sadness of people dying – in mind and body. The gradual slides into dementia are addressed with humour and heartrending pathos: “‘Pretty damn sure that woman was my daughter. But there have to be some consolations for having this ruddy awful disease.’” said the man “whose dementia was casting him adrift. A once majestic galleon whose sails had worn thin and tattered, no longer able to steer its own course but left to the mercy of every squall and storm” and whose “reason had set sail for faraway climes … he occasionally took a brief shore leave in reality, but for the most part the old Godfrey had jumped ship”; another gentleman developing “a hairline crack in his solid, dependable sanity. … that in time he would be as vulnerable as a name written in the sand at the mercy of an incoming tide”. And also the joy of life and living. I love this book, 5 stars is not enough. It deserves to be on everyone’s reading list – read, enjoyed and then shared with all your friends. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review