The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley

You can’t tell from the book image what a beautiful book this is to look at – all round the edges is a shimmery gold. One thing that stood out for me in this book were the vivid descriptions of places and people – appropriate given that two of the main characters are an artist and a photographer. Lucy Foley’s portrayals of the locations of her novel were beautifully atmospheric. I spent my honeymoon in Corsica, where a major part of this book takes place, and it certainly had me longing to go back again. Whether I’d be brave enough to swim in the cold mountain pools I’m not sure but they sounded inviting! Lucy Foley uses simple but very effective language and can create a vivid picture in the mind. For example,  one of her characters in the 1920s is described a ‘a woman from a Vogue illustration …… emerald cloche pulled low above a pale face framed by the soft, dark suggestion of her hair’. If I tell you that the character is in a huge car, I’m sure you can picture her too.

There are many stories told within this novel, with Kate trying to find out about her adopted mother’s birth family being the focus. Through a portrait of a woman she inherits from her grandmother, she manages to trace a world-famous but reclusive artist, Tom Stafford. Sure he holds the key to finding out about her biological grandmother, she tracks him down and is surprised to be invited to visit. The story is told through the voices of Kate, Tom and Alice in the 1980s but also travelling back in time to the 1920s and 1930s taking in England, Corsica, Paris and New York on the way. Lucy Foley moves her story seamlessly between past and present with the different times often linked by a letter or a memory.

A beautifully told love story, I found myself completely immersed in the glamorous age of the 1920s, the horrors of the Second World War and the beauty of Corsica. A thoroughly enjoyable, though poignant debut about missed opportunities, courage in wartime and the endurance of love. I look forward to reading more by Lucy Foley in the future.

Thank you to Harper publishers for giving me a copy of this book to review. The Book of Lost and Found was published on 18 June 2015 and you can order a copy here: The Book of Lost and Found.

Book description:

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

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