Monday, February 9, 2015

Review: The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

Title: The Book of Lost and Found
Author: Lucy Foley
Publisher: 1st February 2015 by Harper Collins Australia
ISBN: 9780007575343
Pages: 330 pages
How We Read It: ARC ebook
Genre: historical fiction
Our Rating:  four and a half cups

In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.
It’s when life started in earnest
HERTFORDSHIRE, 1928 The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds it’s feet by a lake one silvery moonlit evening . . .
It’s when there were no happy endings
PARIS, 1939 Alice is living in the City of Light, but the pain of the last decade has already left its mark. There’s a shadow creeping across Europe when she and Thomas Stafford – now a world famous artist – find each other once more . . .
It’s when the story begins
LONDON, 1986
Bequeathed an old portrait from her grandmother, Kate Darling uncovers a legacy that takes her to Corsica, Paris and beyond. And as the secrets of time fall away, a love story as epic as it is life-changing slowly reveals itself . . .
Sweeping and heartrending – the perfect read for fans of Victoria Hislop and Kate Morton.

Our thoughts:

This book is good. Real good. It’s hard to believe this is Foley’s first novel! A sign of a good book? You simply cannot put it down, it is irresistible:

“The past called to me, staked its claim once more upon me. And the lure of revisiting that time – both the good and bad of it – was, in the end, irresistible”.

The prose is so beautifully written, you will be drawn in and not want to leave.  There is just so much to love about this book. The characters and varying time periods are dramatically bought to life and a story of love and loss, and how decisions made impact upon not just the individual, but those around them and those that follow, is highly enthralling.

Before you know it, you will be swept away through space and time, from the carefree days of the roaring twenties, to occupied Paris, remote Corsica and flamboyant New York. Each location vividly bought to life by Foley.

“There was a kind of alchemy to photography back then….we were attempting to collect some fragment of what we saw with no guarantee that we would bring back anything of worth”.

Telling a story that moves between time periods is no easy task. Foley does it seamlessly, making subtle and clever links as the story progresses. You ride along with Kate as she desperately searches to unravel a mystery from decades before.  There is such strength displayed by so many of the characters – Alice is quite extraordinary – that Foley is to be commended for the depth and complexity that they demonstrate. And I can’t forget about Thomas either who I found fascinating:

“There was no doubt in my mind that Thomas Stafford was a rare and wonderful man”.

This is a novel that will stay with me for some time, so I have no hesitation in highly recommending it. Yes it is romantic and some will state obvious and predictable, but its such a satisfying and rich tale that one cannot help but become immersed in it. It’s the realism that pulls at your heartstrings not a sugary happily ever after. It is an exceptional debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Foley will come out with next. 

“In many ways, my life has been rather like a record of the lost and found. Perhaps all lives are like that.”

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The quoted material may have changed in the final release.

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