Thursday, 22 January 2015

The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

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
The paths of Tom and Alice collide against a haze of youthful, carefree exuberance. And so begins a love story that finds its 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 . . .

The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley was published in hardback by Harper Collins on 15 January 2015 and is the author's debut novel. The paperback will be released in July 2015.

Corsica, Paris, New York, the 1920s, World War Two heroics and a multi-time narrative - these are a few of my favourite things!

This novel has at its heart, a love story. It is a love story that doesn't run smoothly, that spans decades and continents and is convincing and quite beautifully told.

Alice and Tom met as small children. Tom was intrigued by Alice, she was smart and sassy with her wild hair and sense of daring, he was in awe of her and her family. Tom was decidedly middle-class, whilst Alice came from an aristocratic family.  They meet again in 1928, and it is then that their relationship progresses.

Throughout the book, the modern-day story of Kate is gently unfolding too. The author knits together the various threads, and time frames very well, although there were a couple of times that I felt the story suffered just a tiny bit from this narrative.  Kate's mother, the world-famous ballet dancer June Darling died recently. Kate misses her dreadfully and when her somewhat cold and aloof grandmother confesses a long-kept secret just a couple of days before she dies, Kate decides that she must find out more. She is determined to uncover the secrets, to find out who the mysterious Celia is, and how she is connected to her family.

I am really excited by Lucy Foley's writing, this is her debut novel and she has more than proved that she is an excellent author. She writes with style, her characters are warm and realistic and the sense of place from the various locations is tangible. The choice of structure, set as it is, over three time periods, was a risk, but I think she has succeeded very well.

There is a lot packed into this story, and I did feel that at times, it was just a tiny bit too busy, There were a couple of decisions made by lead characters that made me want to shout, but that's not a criticism in any way, in fact it shows how involved I felt with the characters.

My thanks to the publisher Harper Collins who sent my copy for review.

Check out my friend Anne's review on her blog Being Anne

Lucy Foley studied English Literature at Durham and UCL universities. She then worked for several years as a fiction editor in the publishing industry - during which time she also wrote The Book of Lost and Found. Lucy now writes full-time, and is busy travelling (for research, naturally!) and working on her next novel.

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