I don’t really have a new release to recommend this week (currently juggling Megan Abbott’s Fever and Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising while attempting to maintain a social life (a small one)) so I’m pulling out a book I stumbled on when I was in high school and am surprised that more people haven’t read–or heard of–it.
Eva Rice’s The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is the story of Penelope, a young woman living with her mother and brother in the crumbling remains of the family fortune in 1950s London. She befriends a free spirited girl named Charlotte (who is really more of a Samantha) and her aspiring magician brother, Harry (who really does sound a lot like Harry Potter). There’s classic rock and roll, crushes on Elvis-like singers, champagne, parties, and a lot of flirting. Which is all how this one girl deals with loss and recovery post-WWII.
In a very, very small way, it’s like a British 1950’s version of Sex and the City.
Very strained metaphor.
I’m probably the only one who thinks this.
What Intrigued Me: It was a Barnes & Noble recommendation, which was how I noticed it in the first place. But that cover! It’s like candy! Elitist, secretive candy.
What Hooked Me: I have always loved reading about British high society. Blame it on all the Austen I read, but I just find it fascinating. A little romantic, but not that much, because I probably wouldn’t enjoy how confining it is, but a teensy bit romantic. And I loved the idea of vintage dresses and parties and PYTs with too much money drinking too much champagne. Kind of like a Bravo show.
What Made Me Fall In Love: All the mistakes.
Penelope and Charlotte (and Inigo and Harry) are young. They mess up. A lot. And not in a funny-sitcom mess up. More in a cringing-why-aren’t-you-thinking-of-consequences-this-can-only-bring-misery mess up. The story isn’t over the top. It’s quiet and sweet and should probably be made into a BBC miniseries starring a Carey Mulligan-esque pixie.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is available now on Amazon and at your local bookstore. Go read it!