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Month in review

Reviews:
Alphabet Mystery by Audrey Wood
The Best Friend I Ever Had by David Nuffer
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon by Frederik Pohl
Black Rainbow by Barbara Michaels
The Bomb That Followed Me Home by Cevin Soling
Catalog by Eugene Mirabelli
The Chemist by Janson Mancheski
Culture Shock! California by Mark Cramer
The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin
Heechee Rendezvous by Frederik Pohl
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
Jane Austen Ruined My Life by Beth Pattillo
Keeping Hannah Waiting by Dave Clarke
Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish
Love in 90 Days by Diana Kirschner
The Night We Buried Road Dog by Jack Cady
Of Dreams and Reality by Frank L. Johnson
Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene
Purplicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
School Days by B. G. Hennessy
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
Sister Margaret by Rhonda Parrish
A Surprise for Rosie by Julia Rawlinson
Texas Bake Sale by Charles Coleman Finlay
There's a Wolf at the Door by Zoë B. Alley
Tiger Burning Bright by Theodora DuBois
Venice by Adrian Stokes and John Piper
Winding Broomcorn by Mario Milosevic
The Whole Shebang by Timothy Ferris

Ulysses:
Episode 2: Nestor: Kif
Episode 3: Proteus: Georgia Nicholson
Episode 4: Calypso: Parasites Lost
Episode 5: The Lotus Eaters: Down to the River to Pray

Miscellaneous:
Historical Fiction

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Comments for The Secret of Lost Things

The Secret of Lost ThingsThe Secret of Lost Things: 03/25/09

Sometimes a book will just click with a reader. Everything (or almost everything) will fall into place and just be a shared experience between the author, the fictional characters and the reader. The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay was one of those books for me.

Rosemary born on Anzac Day and therefore named for the herb often worn on lapels in Australia. Until her eighteenth birthday her home is her mother's hat shop in Tasmania. When her mother dies she is sent by a bookseller friend to New York with her mother's ashes in a box of Huon pine, one of the most pungent pine scents I have ever smelled; it seems to permeate the entire island.

In that first chapter I was drawn back to my own experience as an exchange student in Tasmania at the age of 17. I can picture the very first place I visited on my own, a used book shop in Ulverstone to buy Nova by Samuel R. Delany for $5.20. I was just as naive and confused by Tasmanian culture (which is a blend of mainland Australian and British ex-pat cultures) as Rosemary is in New York. I can remember being overwhelmed by homesickness at the aroma of the Huon pines (which aren't really pines but smell enough like them to confuse a jet-lagged nose) growing at the Don college.

Then there is Rosemary's time in New York where she works at a place called The Arcade (and apparently inspired by the author's time working at the Strand). Although I haven't worked in a bookstore (would love to someday) I have worked in a university library and in my father's antique shop both which attract people similar to the characters in The Secret of Lost Things.

The final point where I clicked with Rosemary was with her involvement in the search for Melville's lost novel, Isle of the Cross (1853). While I'm no Melville scholar, I am a bit of a fan of his and Hawthorne's books and was vaguely aware of their odd friendship.

Had all those different pieces in my life not been in place I probably would have been more troubled by the novel's flaws. The wacky characters are sometimes too two-dimensional, Rosemary stays naive too long, her obsession with Oscar is just as creepy as Geist's obsession with her is. Yes, those flaws are there but the connection I felt with the book was so strong I don't care about any of them. For a completely different take on the novel and a better look at the book's flaws, please see the review at The Keeping it Real Book Club (listed below).

Learn more about author Sheridan Hays at Backstory.

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Comments (6)



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Comment #1: Thursday, March, 26, 2009 at 08:45:13

Heather J.

Just yesterday I requested the audio book of this from my library. I'm so glad to hear that you thought so highly of it - now I REALLY can't wait to start listening!



Comment #2: Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 22:53:31

Pussreboots

That's a happy coincidence. I hope you enjoy the book. I think you will.



Comment #3: Sunday, March, 29, 2009 at 11:55:49

Framed

I listened to this a year or so ago and remember liking it even though my Ipod was acting up. The one scene between Rosemary and Geist alone in his office was pretty creepy to me. I would definitely read another book by this author.



Comment #4: Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 20:08:39

Pussreboots

Creepy is an understatement for the scene with Rosemary and Geist. Despite that I enjoyed the book.



Comment #5: Wednesday, June, 3, 2009 at 08:43:23

Rebecca Reid

Sounds like an interesting book! It's too bad there are flaws in the characterization, but I'm glad it spoke to you all the same.

As a side note, I'd too love to work in a used bookstore -- and I've heard about the STRAND. It's huge!



Comment #6: Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 18:56:32

Pussreboots

The flaws such as they were didn't get in the way of my enjoyment of the book. I still tore through it and stayed up late to finish it. I gave it a five out of five stars at GoodReads too.