By Helen Paris
Lost Property is set to be a major book title that many publishers wanted and Transworld got, and I can see why it is so hotly anticipated, with its wonderful characters, heartwarming and uplifting storyline, even through some sadness and the intrigue of all that Lost Property, which isn’t always what you might expect!
This is an absolute Must Read for anyone and I feel very lucky to be able to read and review it!
This is a book to grab and clutch onto tightly, and you won’t want to let it go too easily.
Read on to find out more about this beauty of a book in the blurb, the rest of my review and what the author had to say about her book. For a debut novel, Lost Property makes Helen Paris an author to watch for more…
A moving and life-affirming debut novel from an exciting new voice in Book Club fiction. For fans of Saving
Missy and The Authenticity Project, with themes of loss, hope, forgiveness and kindness.
Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere. Dot Watson just needs to be found.
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 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 is just lovely and absolutely splendid from the start, as it tells the story of Dot, Phillipa and their parents. Most of us at some point has either seen a Lost Property box or department or lost something before and this book immerses readers into this curious world of other people’s belongings. I just love the attention to detail and creativity with the luggage tags at the beginning of each chapter, stating what was lost and where. The places and items (sometimes human), is diverse from an Oyster Card to briefcases to a purchase at Selfridges. It is heartwarming when owner and lost item are reunited. It is fun meeting the items, the members of the public and the employees of the Lost Property department. There are times when it isn’t an item as such that is missing, which brings a different slant to the story at times. Sometimes it is something very human that is lost.
There is intrigue and mystery surrounding the Mr Appleby as suddenly he doesn’t seem to exist on the system anymore and yet his missing holdall has turned up. It isn’t just a holdall, it has particular significance, which is tender and of sentimental value.
There is also the shake-up of new policies from a new boss and all proves quite unpopular and as a reader, makes me more onside with the employees under her.
There is terrific lightness and humour mixed with intrigue about the lost property items and who they belong to, as well as poignancy and sadness as Dot and Phillipa’s mum has dementia. It is heartwarming that their mum has a routine and can attend a specialised excursion club, but it is Dot and Phillippa, with the help of some nurses and carers take care of her.
This is a book with a lot of heart and soul to it, that captures certain parts of life, just beautifully, even the parts of dementia and pretty accurately.
I wholeheartedly recommend it and it will fill your heart with warmth.
About the Author
Helen Paris worked in the performing arts for two decades, touring internationally with her London-based
theatre company Curious. After several years living in San Francisco and working as a theatre professor at
Stanford University, she returned to the UK to focus on writing fiction. As part of her research for a performance called ‘Lost & Found’, Paris shadowed employees in the Baker Street Lost Property office for a week, an experience that sparked her imagination and inspired this novel.
Lost Property is her first novel.
A note from Helen:
“Although entirely a work of fiction Lost Property was influenced by the short time I spent in Lost Property,
Baker Street shadowing different employees as research for a performance. Whether it’s a designer bag left
in the back of a black cab or a woolly scarf forgotten on the number 44 bus, loss touches all of us. It is
pervasive, and it never ends – as Dot Watson might say, ‘It’s reliable like that.’
I have always been fascinated by the memories that objects hold, how even the most every day object – a pipe,
a bag, a small purse – can help us recall a place or a person or a particular time in life. Objects can be totemic,
portals to the past. Tactile memory – the memories triggered by holding familiar objects – can be profound.
Some objects almost let us time-travel back to the places we yearn to be, to the people no longer with us, and
linger there, if only for a moment.”