Everything that’s lost belongs somewhere.
Dot Watson’s life is stuck. She wasn’t meant to be single at this point, or still working in a temporary job she started over ten years ago. She was supposed to be in Paris, falling madly in love, forging an exciting career. Instead, her time is now spent visiting her mother’s care home, fielding interfering calls from her sister and working at the London Transport Lost Property office, diligently cataloguing items as misplaced as herself.
There’s a comfort in her routine that Dot has become quite attached to. But then Mr. Appleby arrives at her work asking for help to find his late wife’s purse.
Dot recognises his desperation and grief – and they stir something unexpected in her: determination. As she resolves to help Mr. Appleby, what else might she find along the way? Could she start to heal her own loss and find where she belongs once more?
I found myself drawn to the premise of working in a Lost Property Office – receiving items that have been left behind or abandoned, cataloguing them to be reunited with their owners and, in the process, experiencing a sense of satisfaction and fulfilment.
For a place that holds thousands of lost material memories, the Lost Property Office is somewhere between a museum and a library. Dot’s life is measured by her grief and she finds solace in a mundane job. Her attention to detail gives her purpose until a new manager steps in with plans to overhaul the system. Dot foresees the problems he is bringing but is unable to change his mind despite complaints from customers and staff.
As we understand the events from Dot’s past, her profound connection to this place begins to make sense. Which is why when Mr. Appleby arrives looking for his holdall, Dot’s makes it her mission to find it for him, before it is lost forever in a system riddled with issues.
The vulnerability of Dot’s character and her conviction make her a most heart-warming protagonist I’ve read in a while. The prospect of how material loss may somehow help one find their purpose and give them direction is a unique idea that has been portrayed with empathy.
I began reading this with expectations of discovering something unique but was unprepared for the beauty of this work. There’s a measured pace to the novel and it took me a while before I began to understand Dot’s story. At the same time I found myself entirely hooked to Dot’s voice from paragraph one.
Helen Paris has an absolutely hypnotic way with words. There is sentence after sentence that tugs at your heart and evokes emotions in a way I guarantee you’ve never felt before. The setting at a lost property office offers a peek into people lives through the objects they’ve lost which Paris brings to life in a delightfully uplifting way.
A beautifully written journey of loss, this is funny and light-hearted, while also showing the necessity of overcoming grief, finding forgiveness and rediscovering oneself.
Book 27 of 2021.
Aquamarine Flavours Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.
Available on Amazon*.
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