Friendships, Secrets, and Ghosts

The Keeper of Lost Things (2017) by Ruth Hogan is a rather magical tale with some very likeable characters, a bit of mystery, and of course, lost objects.

In the opening chapter you will meet and get to know a little something about Anthony Peardew, a successful writer who has just returned from a trip.  Anthony is also the Keeper of Lost things.  How did it happen that he felt a need to reunite items found to the persons who lost them?  The details behind this curiosity will be answered in due time.  Throughout this novel, short stories that Anthony had written about the lost items and their owners are woven throughout the book and add interest.  Plus, you will get an idea of Anthony’s talent as an author.

Another question you will be asking yourself early on is how Laura, Anthony’s caretaker and personal assistant, came to work for him in the first place, and then ended up owning Padua.  It will all be answered along with details that will keep you turning pages.

Sunshine, yes, that is her name, shows up at the front door of Padua one day with a big smile on her face.  “My name is Sunshine and I can be your friend.”  I will tell you upfront Sunshine is my favorite character in this interesting tale of about lost objects.  Sunshine is one very special young woman in many, many ways, even when she sulks because her ideas are not being respected.

Because Padua was such a large estate, Anthony had others who worked to keep it running and in pristine condition.  One that stands out is Freddy, the gardener.  He was also very helpful to Anthony in many other ways. He stayed on when Anthony passed away.  He and Laura seem drawn to each other.

Therese, to whom Anthony was engaged, died in a tragic accident many years ago.  Padua holds many memories of Therese.  One connection being the song “The Very Thought of You”.  Another, even more curious event, is the bedroom door being locked from the inside.  Is Therese’s ghost causing these mysterious happenings?  Or is it just an old house creating these unusual phenomena?

In between the regular storyline you will come across chapters headed “Eunice”.  Note the dates of these chapters as you read.  For me it was a bit confusing and annoying at first.  In those chapters you will get to know Eunice who is an assistant to publisher Charles Brockley, better know as Bomber to his friends.  You will also love to hate Portia, Bomber’s sister.  But, fear not, it all comes together and turns into a lovely, touching tale.

I enjoyed reading The Keeper of Lost Things.  The idea of putting stories behind lost items was interesting and led me to thinking about tales behind common items we have all found along our daily journeys.  So, sit back and as Sunshine would say, “Have a lovely cup of tea.”

Books have a way of finding their way to grab my attention.  Sometimes they appear on my doorstep from friends who know I enjoy a good read.  My sister and her best friend keep me posted about novels they have enjoyed.  A former student of mine does a weekly book talk that has opened pathways to new titles.  Three Things About Elsie (2018) by Joanna Cannon is one that came by way of my Maryland daughter.

  1. Flo’s best friend
  2. She always knows what to say to make me feel better

In order to learn the third thing about Elsie, you will have to read Three Things About Elsie, a suspense novel about friendship, secrets, and growing old.  You may not be excited to read a book about growing old or living in a nursing home.  I had my doubts too.  I can almost guarantee you will enjoy Flo’s shenanigans and her friendship with sweet Elsie, and outgoing Jack.

In the opening pages you are going to meet 84-year-old Florence Clayboure who has fallen.  In the time she spends on the floor, Flo, as most everyone calls her, imagines what all is going to happen to her when she is found.  She does not seem to be worried about the fall as much as maybe having dementia.

As a resident of the Cherry Tree Home for the elderly, Flo is more than aware of the routine that will be followed when rescued.  As she is waiting for someone to miss her; her mind starts to wander back to the time she and Elsie were in their 20s.

Flo and Elsie had many adventures together and have continued on sharing times together in their 80s.  One unsettling event in their younger lives come back to Flo when a new male resident moves into Cherry Tree.  A man who looks remarkably like Ronnie Butler.  Of course, that cannot at all be possible since he died back in the 1950s.

Flo, Elsie, and their new friend Jack, join together to figure out if this mystery man really is Gabriel Price or Ronnie, a ghost that lingers in Flo’s memory.

Three Things About Elsie is not a gloomy look at aging, but one of kindness.  The fact is humor and fun are woven into the storyline of these two dear friends.  It is touching, and, yes, there is heartache.  Be reassured, it is worth your time to get to know Elsie and Flo.

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