Review | The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

3/5 stars

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

The blurb: Once a celebrated author of short stories now in his twilight years, Anthony Peardew has spent half his life lovingly 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 fulfil his legacy and 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…

With an unforgettable cast of characters that includes young girls with special powers, handsome gardeners, irritable ghosts and an array of irresistible four-legged friends, The Keeper of Lost Things is a debut novel of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that will leave you bereft once you’ve finished reading.

My take:

I want to stress that I’ve given this book 3 stars – which for me is a “good” rating – because overall it was enjoyable. What follows may sound like I’ve listed everything I didn’t like about it, so I want to start by saying I’m not trying to put you off and I’m sure there will be many readers who will love this story!

The best thing about the book is the premise: the idea of someone whose mission is to recover abandoned items, catalogue and care for them with the eventual purpose of returning them to their owners. In fact, I’d be interested in reading a book that was all about these lost objects, how they were lost and how they are reunited with their owners.

However, while I thought the two plot strands the book juggles were interwoven and balanced well, I didn’t care so much for the occasional interjection of the short stories about one of the recovered items. I could see how these stories were supposed to tie in with the main plots, but I thought they were a distraction. I don’t think this was helped by reading on an e-reader. I can imagine that these stories are better separated out from the main plots in the printed edition of this book, but I didn’t feel the use of cursive as the only thing differentiating them when reading on the screen was enough.

And perhaps that distraction is what prevented me from connecting with any of the characters enough to really care what happened to any of them.

That said, hats off the to author for keeping the plots running in parallel and bringing everything together in a neat bow at the end. I can imagine the effort that went in to keeping it all straight.

Finally, I could have done without the supernatural elements of the plot, which became increasingly important as the story went on and made me start to lose patience. Putting all ghostly influences to one side, the story asks us to suspend out disbelief and accept a pretty incredible string of coincidences to tie the two main plots together, so to then ask us to factor in spiritual interference and a character with apparent clairvoyant abilities… I felt it was all too much.

Overall: A pleasant read, but I felt less focus on complex plotting and ghostly shenanigans and more on the characters would have helped this terrific idea to have greater impact.

Claire Huston / Art and Soul




26 thoughts on “Review | The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

  1. Great review – I don’t know why some people think 3 stars is a negative rating, but they do. As a writer, I’m always happy with 3 stars 😉 Also, this is one of those occasions where the things you might not have warmed to, actually make me want to read this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh that’s great 🙂 I certainly don’t want to put anyone off because it’s a good book! And I’m sure many readers will love it.
      I’ve always used 3 stars to mean a book is good. But some people seem to feel anything less than 4 is negative!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think this is a fab review, and like you I consider 3* a good rating. I always give this to books I enjoyed but wasn’t completely in love with. I know we all do the rating slightly differently but it should always be seen as a bit of a guide anyway. I tend to rely on what people write as opposed to the stars.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with you that 3 stars shouldn’t be seen as a bad rating. Sometimes it’s just the little things that make the rating go down and I enjoyed reading your review and explanation of what didn’t work.

    Liked by 1 person

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