The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley
Published June 2015 by Harper
My copy: Secondhand copy
LONDON, 1986: Bequeathed an old portrait by her grandmother, Kate Darling begins to unpick the tapestry of her family’s secret history in a journey that takes her to Corsica, Paris and back to the heady days of the Roaring Twenties where it all began.
PARIS, 1939: Alice Eversley and Thomas Stafford meet once again in the City of Light. Tom is now a world-famous artist, Alice is much-changed too – bruised from the events of the last decade. Perhaps they can lose themselves in the love story that ignited by a moonlit lake all those years ago?
But sometimes there’s no place for happy endings – and there’s no hiding from the shadow of war . . .
I knew absolutely nothing about this book when I bought it online recently – I simply loved the cover and bought it for that reason alone. I barely even skimmed the blurb on the back!
And this was an instance where it completely paid off to judge a book by its cover. I enjoyed it from beginning to end, and wasn’t even put off by the different narrators and jumps in time, which I don’t always enjoy in a novel. Even the length wasn’t a barrier, despite me usually preferring shorter books.
We start in the 1920s, with Tom and Alice bumping into each other at a party. We find out they knew each other when they were children and had clicked then as they do now. We then jump ahead 60 years and are introduced to Kate, a young woman who is completely lost following the death of her mother, and then her grandmother. She knows her mother was adopted but has no idea of any details – until her grandmother passes her a letter and drawing on her deathbed…
Slowly the two stories come together as we travel to Corsica, Paris and New York, putting together the pieces of the story. I thought the book was really well structured, and there tended to be the right amount from each narrator, different perspective and time in history without it becoming frustrating or confusing. Sometimes this jumping around in time and character can be distracting and detract from the story, but the author managed to pull it off perfectly here, I thought.
There is a slight element of mystery throughout this novel, and although there were no major twists and turns, there was enough to keep the book really riveting without it becoming over the top or unbelievable.
Overall I thought this was a really lovely story. At heart there is a love story – but it’s tinged with sadness and tragedy. I loved the different settings of both time and place, and the story itself was also intriguing. I will definitely look out for more by this author, and would recommend this novel for anyone who likes a mix of historical fiction, romance and mystery!