20/08/2015

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice Review



After my last review of The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp by Eva Rice many of you recommended The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by the same author.  This young adult novel, known also as a chicklit, for me was something that worked well as a summer easy to read and amusing entertainment.

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The novel is based in 1950s’ London. It is presented smoothly and well with society ruled with beautiful yet expensive Dior dresses, gorgeous mother that got pregnant in her teens, engagement parties, jealousy, platonic love, concerts, as well as ruined houses, lost lovers, memories, society pressure, old and unsolved disagreements and lack of money as a background to the main romantic story. 

18 years old Penelope as a main character is entertaining, careful, charming, innocent, very girly and with rosy cheeks. Pretty in the way that an English Roses type of woman is. Her fashion sense is still lacking thus her fabulous mother and friends are acting as her personal first point of call. If someone says “society girl” I would imagine Penelope. She meets in a cab stunning, provocative, sexy, careless, yet to become friend, girl called Charlotte. The impression I have is that Charlotte has had more fun in one day than Penelope has had in her entire life. I would like to read a novel written from Penelope’s perspective. 
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Story shows the transformation of them both from teenage girls into young women. It is hard to say when Penelope’s change happens and what triggered it. Situations that she gets into with Harry, Charlotte’s cousin, could be taken as catalysts. From my point of view Penelope’s parties, fantasizing and pretending to be Harry’s girlfriend is just not enough to cause such a huge change as feeling liberated and an adult. It is not as convincing especially when compared to Charlotte’s transformation that carries on throughout the book. Charlotte’s development is caused by hard work, her ambition, dedication, and discipline that she receives from her sick yet adorable auntie during their efforts to finish writing book in time. 

On the other hand we also have Penelope’s mother a widow who makes sure that everyone around her are as miserable as she is. I have to say that for me that’s the behavior of a teenager not a mother. Yes, she was very young when she got pregnant but since then she had 18 years to grow up. I kept thinking “Lady it’s time to mature, you are almost 40 years old”. Don’t get me wrong being 40 is not the end of the world but being 40 and trying to compete for attention with your teenage daughter is quite sad in my eyes. 

Also her way of spending money and purposely destroying a house was just beyond my belief. I understand that when something awful happens e.g. your husband dies you feel upset and sorry for yourself. However, blaming a beautiful expensive house, which by the way was bought by the husband with his money, is just too much for me. I cannot imagine a single mother being so thoughtless and egotistical. You sell the house, look for a new one, on the way read a few blog posts about house hunting, and buy somewhere you would like to live in. The rest of the money will keep you going for some time, especially if you have never worked a day in your life. 

Eva Rice is a very skilled writer as not many books have characters so strong that I remember them and their names after reading the book. Actually not many characters are causing me to have any emotions. Penelope’s mother is one of the few that does. Even drunk and pretentious Marina, Harry’s love, was not as irritating. 


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I would enjoy a little bit more fashion insights as Charlotte was starting her career as a designer. Actually as I said before I would enjoy the whole novel being about Charlotte. Did she succeed as a designer? Did she find love? Is she a mother? Similarly as with Matilda in the Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp I appreciated supporting characters for the skill sets a lot. Charlotte gives a dynamic energy to the plot that perhaps Penelope is lacking in my eyes.     

Obviously as you can tell I have enjoyed The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets as otherwise I would not have so much to say, nor anything to think about after I finished reading it. It is a very pleasant, easy going book to read unless you are as passionate about evaluating Penelope’s mother as I am. It is also first novel I had a chance to read on my Kindle Voyage, so mainly I was reading it in public transport or during lunch break. 

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5 comments

  1. heeey! hope you have a great day! do you want to follow each other via bloglovin? if yes, just follow me there and i'll follow you back soon! http://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/anna-alina-3947784

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  2. Really enjoyed reading this review, I love how you've mentioned all the main points and given a well-rounded opinion of the book. Despite all of the negatives, this sounds like such an interesting read and one that I think I'll really enjoy!

    PS. Love your blog design, really simple and pretty!

    Nabeela x
    http://nabsticle.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Hey, I know it sounds like I did not enjoy at all! The truth is that I really did that's why I am so involved and into discussion about the main characters and plot. It is harder to explain that I thought it would be! Have a lovely day, Iga xxx

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  3. Really enjoyed reading this review and I have read the book which I really enjoyed too. I am still not going to fold my socks though or some of the other things she suggests. I started a mass clutter last year and have got rid of nearly all my cds (keeping only the one still not available on mp3) lots of dvds, books, and so much more. I am also still working my way through a massive photo book project, converting my old prints and negative into photobooks (using printerpix) and then getting rid of them so all the photos are in hard copy photo books and digital files only - so much less clutter here, especially as the traditional albums took up too much space. I love having less physical stuff and only keeping things that bring me joy. I spent too many years keeping things that I may need one day etc or buying things I needed but didn't like because they were cheap and money was always an issue. Now I buy nice things, that will bring me joy, when I can and treasure them.

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    1. Hello, that's fantastic that you managed to get rid of so many things already! How does that makes you feel? I have to say that sometimes I wonder when will be a big shift from minimalism to celebration of old, cherished items. I am definitely trying to balance it out as I know that in however many years I will definitely want to have some of the items that this book suggests to get rid of e.g. right now my old diary does not really spark any emotions rather than nostalgia, however in twenty years I am sure it is going to be a very valuable piece of memories for me.

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