Book Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

July 27, 2015 Book review 12 ★★★★

I love books about female friendship and at the very heart of this book is a friendship that is exuberant, fun and full of life. Actually the whole book is full of that too.

Book Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva RiceThe Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
Published by Headline Genres: Fiction, Romance, Literary
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Bookbridgr
Buy on Amazon

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.

First Line of The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice:

“I met Charlotte in London one afternoon while waiting for a bus.”

My Thoughts on The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice:

The setting of this book is fab. It’s set in post war England at a time of huge change. Teenagers are now a thing and they are ready to throw off the bad memories of the war and just grab life by the horns and shake it for all it’s worth. They’ve had enough of rationing and death and bad news and now it’s time to party and enjoy being young. The moment is everything and that feeling is contagious while you read.

Penelope lives in a huge mansion that is falling down around her family’s ears. I was picturing a house like Downton Abbey in my head, a few decades on, badly neglected and in need of a huge money injection. Penelope is slightly awkward, very English and desperately in love with Johnnie Ray, an early rock and singer from America.

And one day, she meets the zany, high-spirited Charlotte. Who flies in to her life like a whirlwind and stirs everything up. I loved the friendship of the two girls; it was sincere and supportive and brought fun and joy to both girls. And both girls just pulsate with youth and romantic ideas and their fandom of Johnnie Ray was hilarious.

So setting, check. Characters, check. But great as those two were, what really shone for me was the writing. It flowed from the page, it was thought-provoking and everything from the language used to emotions evoked just made me live, sleep and breathe the late 1940s and I loved it.

It is also a rollercoaster of a book and it made me laugh and swoon but it also choked me up at times. It has a charming, quirky feel but is well able to hit you in the feels at poignant moments too.

I do have to say, it was predictable and everything wrapped up very neat and tidy. But I had such fun along the way that I didn’t mind that in the slightest. There were a few romances and they were sweet but not the main focus of the book. Mostly this is a story of friendship and family and is absorbing and entertaining. It might have a simple theme but it is also an unforgettable read.

So it gets a huge thumbs up. And I can’t believe the book is 10 years old, how come no one ever told me about this one before? Peeps, if you know more books like this, shout now, I need them in my life!


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: four-stars


Who should read The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice?

I’d highly recommend this to you if you like historical fiction, books about friendship and strong character development. Fans of I Capture the Castle should also enjoy.

Thanks to Bookbridgr and Headline for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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12 Responses to “Book Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice”

    • trish

      Thanks Kim 🙂 Yes I’m such a fan of the setting and this book really captures what an unsettling time it was.

    • trish

      It is fun Shaina but also very emotional in places! Hope you love both books when you get to them 🙂

  1. Greg

    Sounds like it really pulls you into the setting- and the 1940’s timeframe would be nice too. And yay for older books… it’s nice to discover an older gem, isn’t it? Have a super day! 🙂

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