Thursday 24 January 2013


Book review: Lost & Found by Tom Winter

My edition: Paperback, to be published on 21 February 2013 by Corsair, 320 pages.

Description: It started with a letter...

Carol is married to a man she doesn't love and mother to a daughter she doesn't understand. 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 with his cat, Gloria, for company. Slowly being pushed out at his place of work, he is forced down to the section of the post office where they sort undeliverable mail.

When a series of letters turns up with a smiley face drawn in place of an address, he cannot help reading them.


Albert works for Royal Mail and as his retirement looms he's given one final task that will ensure he'll be remembered for years to come (or so his manager says): organise the lost letters that have been piling up in a room behind the sorting machine.

As Albert embarks on the journey through letters addressed to Santa, God and illegible addresses he comes across one that stands out and tempts him to break his principle of never reading another person's mail. Addressed to no one the envelope merrily exhibits a smiley face in its corner and as Albert opens the letter his relationship with the writer unfolds.

Carol feels unhappy in her marriage and as a mother and she often wishes she were living in an exotic place with the love or her life instead. Her best friend suggests that she puts her frustrations on paper and, though sceptical at first, Carol soon drafts the first letter.

Instead of burning her words like Helen said she should she decides to pop them into a mailbox, not knowing that Albert is on the other end reading her woes. Her letters push the pensioner to do things he should've done years before and, simultaneously grateful and intrigued, he embarks on the search for "C".

Tom Winter's debut is a poignant novel about two ordinary people whose stories become extraordinary as the excellent writing draws the reader in. The book has a melancholic feel to it but is also inappropriately funny at times and has a surprisingly uplifting ending.

The characters are well written and very memorable, particularly Albert's quirky cat Gloria and her suicidal tendencies - they will stay with the reader long after turning the final page.

Thanks to Lovereading for a proof copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

Would you like to know more about author Tom Winter? You can find him on Twitter as @wintrybits

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