This is a beautiful written story of being lost, then found, of finding your place in the world and finding love. I loved reading this debut novel and urge you to read it.
The story opens with Anthony, an author, living in a house called Padua alone as the love of his life, Theresa died 40 years earlier. He hires a PA/housekeeper called Laura who is looking for work following her husband’s departure after his affair.
On the day that Theresa died she had given Anthony a keepsake. To his horror he loses it and then loses her. As a way of coping he starts a quest to find objects that people have dropped, brings them back to Padua, records the information and writes a story around them.
Anthony dies shortly after Laura begins working for him and he leaves everything to her on the grounds that she returns every item he has collected over the years to their owners. Being allowed into his study for the first to survey the found objects Laura understands the task involved and find it overwhelming. Enter Freddy the gardener and Sunshine the young girl from next door. The three of them begin the task of setting up a website to display the items and find their original owners.
Meanwhile the story jumps back to 1975 and Eunice who begins work at a publishing company. Bomber is the publisher and their relationship is a joy to read about throughout the book. The scenes in the editorial offices are brilliant, great dialogue and you can visualise them easily.
I enjoyed the change of writing style from the chapters about Laura to the chapters about Eunice, the switch was done with ease. This is an irresistible début novel of lost objects and second chances. If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Rosie Project.
There are joyous parts of the book and Hogan uses Eunice and Bomber’s publishing company and relationship to bring humour into the story. I loved the dig at Hello/OK and the references to the slush pile and publishing stories. If you need a great story and cheering up this January read this book.