The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan

A lost button. A forgotten hair clip. An umbrella in a park.

Are these things hopelessly lost forever? Will their owners want them back? Who will keep them until they can be reunited?

Anthony Peardew, author of short stories, will become the Keeper of Lost Things. He will collect the forgotten and give them a home, carefully labeled with the date and location where they were abandoned with the hopes of one day returning the items to their people.

Now aging, Anthony needs some help around the house for everyday things, so he hires Laura. Laura is working out how to move on after a divorce from her young love. She’s seeking a new start, and frankly, she needs to be found, too.

After Anthony passes away, Laura is left with the task of reuniting the massive collection of lost things with their owners. She’ll need the help of a few new friends to accomplish the monumental task.

Meanwhile, 40 years earlier, Eunice is applying for a position at a publishing company. She’s ready to start a new chapter in life and find love along the way, and maybe a few donuts and treats from the bakery down the street. Her life plays out with the help of a cast of colorful characters and brings her to the present day in her golden years.

Stories intertwine, lost items are returned, friends are made, and all is right with the world again.

Why this book worked:

Stories within the Story

Hogan uses short stories (presumably written by Anthony) to explain how or why certain lost items became lost. It’s an innovative way to allow the main story to rest while exciting the reader with a brand new premise.

The stories are short and easy to digest, yet intriguing. I was drawn to every one of them and longed to know what item was going to be lost.

There’s such a natural pull to learn how the mundane becomes significant.


There are two main storylines in The Keeper of Lost Things:

  1. Laura, Freddy, and Sunshine
  2. Eunice and Bomber

Each side has several supporting characters, including dogs.

The first takes place over a short period of time. Laura has been caring for Anthony for a while, but the key events probably unfold in less than a year. The second takes place over many decades as we follow Eunice from a young hopeful all the way to old age. The disparity in timeline helps keep things interesting.

Positive Representation of Disability and Differences

When we first meet Sunshine, we don’t actually know for sure if she has a diagnosable condition, just that she maybe is a bit strange or different, although overall pleasant and kind. But eventually, we do get confirmation that Sunshine has Down Syndrome.

As an advocate for equality and disability rights, I was pleased to see Sunshine as a main character with an active role in progressing the story. Representation matters.

A Touch of Magic

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, Hogan introduces the idea of ghosts, spirits, and supernatural connections. Sunshine is able to sense what happened to an object or the object’s owner by touching it as we see several times.

Then we see over and over that the ghost of Therese can manipulate objects, like locking doors and moving pens, to show her displeasure or intent.

The excitement of the supernatural makes this story unique and frankly, the plot would not happen without the supernatural elements. What drive would Laura have to find the lost locket?

Happily Ever After

We all love a story with a happily ever after and that’s exactly what we get.

…And Also Dogs.

Lots of puppies in this story that just add to the whole feeling of wholesomeness.

I highly recommend this book. It’s an easy, lovable read that will make you smile and maybe shed a tear or two.

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