Carol is unhappily married to a man she doesn't love and mother to a daughter she doesn't understand. Stuck in a life she doesn't want and crippled with guilt, she can't shake the feeling that she has wasted her life. So she puts pen to paper and writes a Letter to the Universe.
Albert is a widowed postman, approaching retirement age, and living only with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced own to the post room where they sort undeliverable mail. Forgotten in his work place and bullied by his neighbours, Albert is extremely lonely. When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.
Lost and Found by Tom Winter is published by Corsair - Constable & Robinson. The hardback was released on 21 February 2013 and the paperback will be released on 15 August 2013.
I often read advance copy books, with plain covers, and rarely judge a book by it's cover, but I have to mention how beautifully presented Lost And Found is. The cover design and illustration is just gorgeous, with a sort of a vintage feel to it.
It would be easy to assume that Lost And Found is going to be a love story, maybe a little sweet, and possibly a little moralistic. I don't really like those kind of stories. I was delighted to find myself thrust into the world of on-the-verge of being bitter Carol, and sad lonely Albert. Two characters who have been created so well and are so realistic that it's impossible not to find yourself drawn into their lives.
This is not a love story, it's more a story of lost love. It's certainly not sweet, although it's very touching. And whilst the moral of the story is most certainly 'grab life whilst you can', the author doesn't preach.
Carol and Albert are two people who have let life slip them by, they've not really taken control of what they want. Albert has spent many many years as a widower, and it's only as he approaches retirement and discovers the letters that Carol has written, that he realises that he could have done more. Carol has always known that she could have had more, but made a life-changing decision many years ago, and has lived unhappily with the consequences ever since.
Although Carol and Albert are the main characters in this novel, and between them, they tell the story, there is also an amazing cast of characters to support them. From Max, the neighbour who makes Albert's life hell to Helen, Carol's best friend. Each and every one of them adds something special to the mix, all expertly crafted, some of them are awful, some of them are very funny and one of them is especially crude!
Lost and Found is a witty, touching and incredibly well written debut novel. I loved Carol and Albert, I loved the premise and I thought it all worked so well.
My thanks go to Jessie from Constable & Robinson who sent my copy for review. Constable & Robinson have produced a great trailer to go with the book, based on the same design as the cover illustration.
Tom Winter is a British writer living in Berlin. Lost and Found is his first novel. He is currently at work on his second book. Follow him on Twitter @wintrybits