This was SUCH an enjoyable book to read! Not just because it is filled with characters I loved and lots of surprises — but because it’s written with such steady and understated humor. Along with a true appreciation for and insight into the gifts and flaws all us regular old human beings possess. It feels a bit like a modern-day adult fairy tale and I awarded this one four stars on Goodreads. But 4.5 would be more accurate.
On a completely UN-spectacular day at the start of the book, three people (two lovers and a stranger) happen to wind up at the same street corner in London. The young engaged couple, Therese and Anthony, are planning to meet up for lunch. Eunice is on her way to a job interview at a small publishing company. Fate intervenes. And, as a result, over the next forty years, lots of loose ends need to be tidied up.
Anthony begins collecting all the lost items he stumbles across over the years, all of which he carefully labels and stores in his study. Then he creates and publishes a delightful story about each one. Eventually, his collection requires an assistant and he hires Laura, who quietly and diligently becomes Anthony’s essential helpmate.
Therese, always known for her quick temper, uses steely determination to make sure she winds up with a happy ending.
Eunice’s life, meanwhile, has been forever changed by the friendship that develops with her new employer, Bomber. And the two of them share decades of pastries, movies, and laughs, especially over the pathetic, plagiaristic book-writing efforts of Bomber’s little sister Portia.
Fred, a good-looking I.T. entrepreneur-turned-gardner adds a bit of romance. Vince, the philandering ex, offers the reader someone to despise or pity. Sunshine, too often overlooked as a young neighbor with a disability, turns out to have very special gifts for understanding “lost things.” And there are a couple of adopted rescue dogs who are as fully fleshed out in personality as each human character.
This is SUCH a fun read that my advice is to save this novel for a special vacation, a cold wintry weekend in front of a fire, or some other place where you have the time to relish every page. It would also be a wonderful book for reading aloud to the family.
This is the author’s debut novel but I’m hopeful there will be others. Read more about the British author, Ruth Hogan. (FYI, her back story is a very interesting one.)