Earlier this year, I read Samantha Tonge’s novel Under One Roof, which was a great book, so I was keen to read her new release Lost Luggage – which has a wonderful, irresistible blurb!
The first character we meet is Dolly Bell, which is one of my favourite character names ever! She lives in a village called Knutsmere, not far from Manchester and we find her on the first page in the city at a lost luggage auction. Every year, Dolly and her older sister Greta go to this auction and buy each other a piece of luggage as a Christmas present. But this year, Dolly is alone at 71 and continuing the tradition without her sister present.
She takes her prize home and opens it on Christmas Day. Inside the trunk, she finds a notebook entitled Phoebe Goodbody’s Year of Firsts. She discovers Phoebe planned to “HAVE AN ADVENTURE” every month and the notebook documented those. With the help of her neighbours Leroy (66) and Flo (11), she sets about doing the same challenges, hoping to meet Phoebe so she can return her notebook to her. Will this give Dolly a purpose she lacks in her life?
Dolly is such a wonderful character. You want to reach through the words and give her a hug. I love how her house is described so evocatively. The Royal Family plates especially struck a chord! I could really see everything so clearly and understand more about the sisters from their home. Greta is very much a part of Dolly’s life and home, despite no longer being physically present, and you learn a lot about her too.
The first part of the novel delicately shows the way Dolly has changed due to grief. She doesn’t wash or brush her hair much, she doesn’t care about what clothes she puts on and her house is a mess. She just wants to hide away. You can see her falling apart, bit by bit. It is fascinating to see the changes over the months.
I loved the mixture of different characters here and the fact you had a little girl helping a woman in her seventies, who she wasn’t related to. It was lovely to see how Dolly, Flo and Leroy all help each other out. All three are fantastic characters who you warm to straight away.
The novel has a bit of everything – it’s funny, it’s warm, it’s loving and it’s emotional. It’s also inspirational and incredibly uplifting. Highly recommended.
Brand new from the bestselling author of Under One Roof.
One lost suitcase. Two strangers. And a notebook that will change lives.
For almost fifty years, sisters Dolly and Greta have lived together – getting each other through the good times and the bad.
Except this year, Greta isn’t there and Dolly is feeling lost and alone. In memory of her sister, Dolly heads to the lost luggage auction where she and Greta go each Christmas. But her bid reveals a gift she never imagined.
Amongst the clothes is the notebook of a reclusive woman who has hardly been outside for an entire year, but who isn’t ready to give up on life. The notebook’s contents resonate with Dolly. With the support of her neighbours, retired Leroy and eleven year old Flo, Dolly decides to take on the year of firsts Phoebe had planned.
But, can you have a year of firsts when you’re seventy-two? And is Dolly ready to discover the notebook’s secrets, or are some secrets better left lost at the airport?
Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3bgCnBC
Author Bio –
Samantha Tonge is the bestselling and award-winning author of over 15 romantic fiction titles published by HQ, and most recently Aria. Her first book for Boldwood, Under One Roof, was published in February 2022 and her move to Boldwood marks a broadening of her writing into multi-generational woman’s fiction. She lives in Manchester with her family.
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