The Keeper Of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan

My daughter is four.

She loves Talking Tom games and You Tube episodes.

I was more invested in the relationship between Tom and Angela on those cartoons than I was in the relationships between Laura and Freddy, or the post-death relationship between Anthony and Therése or between Eunice and Bomber.

It is a nice enough premise: Anthony Peardew is a widower who fills his life and home with lost things which has finds, collects and collates. Buttons, jigsaw puzzle pieces, a hair band, an umbrella.

When he dies, he charges Laura – his housekeeper – with returning them to their rightful owners. In exchange for his house. As you do!

In the meantime, she starts a relationship with the gardener, Freddy, and sort of adopts and befriends Sunny, a Down’s Syndrome teenage girl with a touch of clairvoyance. Has not the idiot savant trope been done to death yet? And I feel hugely uncomfortable writing the name of it!

Alongside this romance, the house reveals itself to be haunted by Therése – universally lauded as having been a wonderful person in life but whose spirit seemed petty in its hauntings.

And interweaving this is the story of Eunice’s unrequited love affair with her boss, the publisher Bomber who is revealed to be gay.

And all these stories were sweet enough and inoffensive and … nice. And just a bit dull.

And the self-referential ending was just a little mawkish.

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