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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets...Review

About the book:
Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide- eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while postwar London spins toward the next decade's cultural revolution.

Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte's mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope's— and her family's—future happiness.

Vibrant, witty, and filled with vivid historical detail, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is an utterly unique debut novel about a time and place just slipping into history.

An absolutely delightful book. I think I'm going to go out and get my own copy so I can reread it.

In post World War 2 England, rationing is ending, grand houses are tumbling down from neglect and lack of money and families are learning to cope with the losses of husbands and fathers.

In this setting, 18-year old Penelope's life changes when she accepts a cab ride with an unknown young woman and enjoys tea with the girl's eccentric aunt and cousin. How can you not enjoy a book with Hollywood stars, Elvis wannabees, the 50s and even "fairy godmothers" in the form of a charming young man? The mysterious appearance of the evening gown in Penelope's room on the eve of the big dinner was wonderful.

Eva Rice's terrific novel is reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher in some ways: the voice, the setting of post-WW2 in England, beautiful descriptions and a delightful heroine. The characters are memorable and entertaining. This would make a charming film.

It's romantic without being sappy or fluffy. Funny and heartwarming at the same time. Not only a must-read, but a definite re-read as well!

Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 4/08

* * * *

4/5 Stars


  1. This is already on my list but if it is reminiscent of Rosamunde Pilcher than I will have to move it up. I love Rosamunde Pilcher!

  2. The book sounds wonderful, I'll have to put in on my TBR list.