Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she started over ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, building an exciting career. Instead, every day in Baker Street’s Lost Property office, she diligently catalogues hundreds of lost umbrellas, lone gloves and an alarming number of shoes.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr Appleby arrives at her work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she resolves to help Mr Appleby, what else might she find along the way?
Lost Property by Helen Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I would like to thank Random House UK, Transworld Publishers for providing me with an advance reader copy via access to the galley for free through the NetGalley program. I’d recommend this one to anyone who enjoys romance. It’s fresh, has a unique storyline, and deeper themes that will tug at you heart.
Loved the backstory, side stories, the insight into what really happens to all this lost luggage, research clearly done. Not that I would even know what happens on the back end, but I travel a lot and definitely found some incredible relatability here! The support for this premise was super unique.
One of my favorite aspects of the book were the tidbits of lost items and their owner. Really characterized items from the type of person who wears such clothing items or such luggage pieces, or whatever the item may be. Clever.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one with its plot, main setting, or occupation. They added so much interest and dimension to the overall story.
Themes of regret, loss, grief, self doubt, frustration, resentment, and hints of jealousy, were all integrated into the plot which made for a stronger, grounded narrative much deeper than I was expecting and I really enjoyed these aspects of the book.
I will say it was a little rather rocky in beginning. I guess bits were less memorable and I didn’t know their purpose nor their context. I didn’t quite identify the bigger picture dilemma or tension early on, aside from typical day to day work complaints. There was some clutter with detail that was somewhat interesting but I kept thinking less would be more. Too many tangents, made me lose focus of what was really happening. But it did come together nearer to the end though, definitely worth reading through.
Even though my least favorite, first person present tense narration was used, it worked rather well with carefully curated perspective into her day to day tasks.
Loved the conversation-like writing style. Some casual pop culture references some I got, super clever, others I had to dismiss because I just wasn’t sure I understood, some verbiage I had to look up. Which was ok, I just had to leave the book quite a few times, taking me out of the book when I wanted to keep reading further one. It’s more because when I do that I get distracted and will end up definition, root words, other languages, looking up many other things, then check my email, then… I do love looking things up, particularly fact-checking and such when reading historical fiction/nonfiction, but any other genres not so much.
I enjoyed majority of the descriptions, especially more toward the end, but some became quite sore. Not every noun needs an adjective, especially a color at that. Just my own personal preference, others may love it, I don’t.
Some other examples, perhaps more to do with the writing, is why did I need to know about this character who wore hair gel, slicked back, mentioned, reemphasized as many times. Like one mention was enough, then maybe later a thought about not a hair was out of place or perhaps a mention of some other characteristic that made a more clear picture of the character as rather polished, classic, cool, or rockstar person of the sort. And I still wasn’t sure at second mention whether his slicked back hair made him more rebel rocker-esque John Travolta in Grease or Leonardo DiCaprio, waiting at the top of the staircase. Maybe it was just a simple tease or inside joke unbenounced to me that was I was waiting for to play a bigger role or deeper insight into a character.
It’s just the way my brain thinks I suppose. When I see a recurring description I interpret it as a hint, then tend to wait for some further reveal or deeper insight that will add deeper connection or insight into some bigger reveal in the end. Like I want everything in a book to count. It’s just I found some descriptions didn’t add much meaning, context, drive, or embellishments to the characters or story in their repetition when told the exact same way every time, especially at the beginning when I was loosely connected to the characters and plot.
The hardest time I had with the book overall was with the main character. I didn’t get the main character. She commented on stuff happening around her but lacked emotional response. The emotion didn’t come through until about page 120. That was when the writing became the strongest and the plot more captivating. When the emotion was there is when the writing began to shine. Again, it wasn’t until later in the book where more vulnerable, intimate scenes and character expression, reaction, and reflection guided me into what I was wanting to embrace and understand to a certain extent early on.
The main character had great insight, seemed to read people well, but she was sort of lifeless early on I guess. I Iiked her character role, but elements to define her as a person were quite lacking. I needed some reflection earlier on to understand who she was to make a more complete characterization to connect with for stronger understanding later on.
Everyone read the same to me and too much of it. Most of the dialogue didn’t add anything or help me identify characters as unique individuals.
Absolutely loved the work environment and beach scenes, took me straight there. Mundane work to a lovely day at the beach.
The little visual details of chapter tags were such pleasant bonuses! Unique for sure!
I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author.
View all my reviews