The Book of Lost and Found
By: Lucy Foley
Format/Source: Advanced Reading Copy courtesy of the publishers via GoodReads First Reads Programme
From London to Corsica to Paris–as a young woman pursues the truth about her late mother, two captivating love stories unfurl.
Kate Darling’s enigmatic mother–a once-famous ballerina–has passed away, leaving Kate bereft. When her grandmother falls ill and bequeaths to Kate a small portrait of a woman who bears a striking resemblance to Kate’s mother, Kate uncovers a mystery that may upend everything she thought she knew.
Kate’s journey to find the true identity of the woman in the portrait takes her to some of the world’s most iconic and indulgent locales, revealing a love story that began in the wild 1920s and was disrupted by war and could now spark new love for Kate. Alternating between Kate’s present-day hunt and voices from the past, THE BOOK OF LOST AND FOUND casts light on family secrets and love-both lost and found.
The Book of Lost and Found sounds like my kind of read: a story about family and secrets and time and place disrupting a chance for happiness, a story involving plenty of travel. I won an ARC of this novel through the GoodReads First Reads programme and it came at a good time as I needed to unwind a bit from all of the studying for my comprehensive exams and summer was slowly rolling in. This book will be available on 25 August 2015.
The first few chapters set up the story and definitely left me intrigued as to what happened to these characters, especially Alice and Tom from the 1930s and how their story intersects with Kate in 1986. There’s plenty of circumstances and intersects in Kate’s mother’s life that leaves her story open to link up with Alice and Tom’s story, and the story in general is interesting enough that it kept me turning the page: aside from what happened to Alice and Tom, together and separately, I was also interested in the turn of events in Thomas’ life and how he followed his dreams, as well as Alice’s own personal tragedy. Alice’s family is pretty sketch, though they only make up a small portion of the story and how they impacted Alice throughout.
The 1986 storyline was interesting enough in how Kate is trying to piece the story together, and her interactions with Thomas’ grandson Oliver; gosh, he was such an arse at first, but the reveal behind his own initial feelings was interesting and I thought his curious bond was intriguing too. In some ways though it felt a little bit weaker than the 1930s storyline; Kate is grieving throughout the story over the loss of her mother, but that seems to be the only thing going for the character. Despite being the main narrator, she didn’t feel as fleshed out a character. I wished her own derailed dreams and plans had made a stronger presence in the story.
Additionally, there was something about the writing that sort of turned me off. Kate’s narrative “voice” doesn’t seem to match the sort of person she is or the life she leads somehow, it felt stilted and unnatural at times, and something that was too noticeable for me at times that it distracted me a bit from the story. The intercut between Kate and Thomas’ narrative can also be a wee bit confusing at times; there’s a signature that notes that the narrative had turned over to Thomas, but the switch back doesn’t always include a note; this might just be in the ARC though.
Despite of all this, I did enjoy reading The Book of Lost and Found and following Kate as she uncovers the truth behind her mother’s lineage. Themes of love, loss, and estrangement and the role of family dynamics were all very interesting to read. Readers of Kate Morton and Lucinda Riley’s books will want to check out this novel.