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Publisher's Summary

Loved Ruth Hogan's The Keeper of Lost Things? Keep on reading.... 

Masha's life has stopped.

Once a spirited, independent woman with a rebellious streak, her life has been forever changed by a tragic event 12 years ago. Unable to let go of her grief, she finds solace in the silent company of the souls of her local Victorian cemetery and at the town's lido, where she seeks refuge underwater - safe from the noise and the pain.

But a chance encounter with two extraordinary women - the fabulous and wise Kitty Muriel, a convent girl-turned-magician's wife-turned-70-something-roller-disco-fanatic, and the mysterious Sally Red Shoes, a bag lady with a prodigious voice - opens up a new world of possibilities, and the chance to start living again. But just as Masha dares to imagine the future, the past comes roaring back.... 

Like her best-selling debut, The Keeper of Lost Things, Ruth Hogan's second novel introduces a cast of wonderful characters, both ordinary and charmingly eccentric, who guide us through a moving exploration of the simple human connections that make life worth living.

©2018 Ruth Hogan (P)2018 John Murray Press

Critic Reviews

"This is the first book I read in 2017 - and if another as good comes along in the next 12 months, I'll eat my special gold reviewing spectacles." (Daily Mail)

 "A gem." (Huffington Post)

  "Exquisite." (The Lady)  

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Hannah
  • 06-18-18

Couldn’t put it down.

What a lovely heart warming story. Extremely well read. I enjoyed every page and was sad when it ended. Another beautiful story by Ruth hogan. X

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • R Bentham
  • 06-12-18

Not quite there!

I loved 'The Keeper of Lost Things' but this audiobook just didn't grab me in the same way.

I didn't believe that the narrators were living the story. It felt very much like a book was being read out loud to me by someone who was reading it for the first time and hadn't quite got their head around the sentence structures, pauses, flow etc. The performance wasn't right.

There were some great characters, some lovely quirks and the story had a good concept but in the end it just didn't quite marry up as well as it could have done. Alice's story needed more development.This book seemed like a first draft to me.

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  • Amanda Bowden
  • 05-30-18

heartwarming

i liked keeper of lost things and loved this. a heartwarming story that takes a tragedy and manages to make it sad but not depressing whilst employing funny characters for light relief. wouls suit fans of eleanor oliphant, and goats n sheep.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • S. Jones
  • 05-17-18

Wonderful celebration of eccentricity and learning to love and live after tragedy

Loved this book, wonderful story and both narrators were a pleasure to listen to. Lots of gentle wisdom and observation from Ruth Hogan

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Carol Farrant
  • 05-13-18

Excellent

A brilliant story which I loved. My only complaint was the abruptness of the ending. However, I would definitely recommend this audiobook and will keep an eye out for further stories by this excellent author.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • K. J. Noyes
  • 05-08-18

Poignant narration on grief, friendship, courage

3.5 stars

I haven't read the author before, and intend to read her first shortly, so DID enjoy this enough to read more. There were a few thoughts I had as I listened where things grated on me, but overall, I found this moving, with a few shocking moments.

The majority of the story is Masha's, a woman who lost her child over a decade ago and has not been able to recover from the grief since. In a parallel narrative, Alice is almost smothering her own teenage son with love and going through her own difficulties. Masha meets two older women, the Sally Red Shoes of the title as well as the irrepressible 'free spirit' Kitty Muriel, who both may have some lessons to teach her form their own long lives.

I admit, I burst into noisy, messy tears while out jogging listening to this. Some moments were unbelievably heart-breaking. Listening to the scene in which Masha loses her little boy - very hard to picture and to read.

There are characters I liked as well - I understood Masha's pain, I enjoyed Kitty's open, loving nature.

But there were also aspects that exasperated - it's not usual to have two exemplars, two 'guardian angels' for a character to learn from, and I did feel at times that Sally didn't add that much to the story, that her story and character could have been subsumed into Kitty's or taken out, as Kitty was very much the stronger of the two.

It took me until nearly the end to understand the point of Alice and her story, again, it seemed extraneous, even as a counterpoint to Masha and her son's relationship, despite the moving story happening for Alice and her son Mattie. Though, this does change very suddenly at the end. And the end too, brings us up short, leaving no wind-down or epilogue, it's an unanticipatedly swift conclusion. And one that leaves many questions unanswered, and relies on coincidences.

On the whole, it's a bittersweet and uplifting story of a woman moving through the stages of grief, though the last few chapters psychologically pull some of that apart.

I hear wonderful things about Hogan's debut and I look forward to trying it, and I'll likely be listening to this as well.

This book made a very gratifying audio-read, with two voices provided for Alice and Masha, though I found initially that I wasn't always sure from the voice alone whose story I was listening to, and needed context from the text to clarify who it was that was speaking to me. Both were clear and smooth readers, but not different enough to be instantly recognisable. The story itself was easy enough to follow as an audiobook.

With thanks to Nudge Books for providing a sample Audible copy, for an honest review.

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  • Carole
  • 05-08-18

A Heart-warming read.

Beautifully written and narrated superbly. From beginning to end the story delivers a roller coaster of emotions. As the characters came to life I found myself laughing and crying with each unfolding chapter, the humour and sadness combines well. I personally found this to be a listen I did not want to come to an end as it was such an enjoyable story. Definitely one to remember!