Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Lost Hours by Karen White

The Lost Hours by Karen White
Copyright 2009
New American Library - Fiction
343 pages

What led you to pick up this book? Karen White will be guest blogging here, later this month, and I was quite anxious to read one of her books. The House on Tradd Street (her previous release) has been on my wish list for a while. Although The Lost Hours is not the title I've been aching to read, the author has been on my radar since I read so many fabulous reviews of Tradd Street.

Describe the plot without giving anything away. Piper Mills thought herself immune to further tragedy after the deaths of her parents. But, then a terrible horse-riding accident nearly killed her and left her with pain and wounds that were more than skin deep. Six years on, her life is bland and unchanging as she works doing geneological research and continues to limp through life. Then, the death of her grandfather starts her on a new quest to uncover the long-buried secrets of her grandmother's past and the woman Annabelle O'Hare was long before Alzheimer's Disease claimed her memories.

A key, some scrapbook pages and a charm lead her to the home of her grandmother's childhood best friend, Lily. But, will Lily be willing to reveal their painful history, or will their stories be lost forever?

Describe a favorite scene. I liked finding out what that key opened up.

What did you think about the characters? Helen, Lily's blind granddaughter, was my absolute favorite; she was a real spitfire. I liked Piper, but I found she and most of the other characters were lacking something. I'm not sure if the timing was wrong for me or they're genuinely bland, but I particularly had trouble caring about Annabelle's past and even found the timeline of Annabelle's descent into Alzheimer's and the early years Piper spent with her grandparents rather confusing. I did want Piper's life to improve. She seemed like a person who had at one time had tremendous inner strength and I was rooting for her to find new meaning in her life.

What did you like most about the book? I think I was most fond of the metamorphosis in Piper and the potential for romance to eventually develop with Lily's son.

Was there anything you didn't like about the book? In my opinion, it was extremely predictable. I had almost everything figured out before it was explained and that may account from my feeling that the book was a bit bland. There was one surprise at the end -- not enough to rock my boat, but enough to make the ending a little better than expected. I liked the author's writing enough that I still am very anxious to read The House on Tradd Street

Recommended? Yes. While I didn't think the book was brilliant and I thought the writing was a tad on the cliché side, it was still good and I enjoyed it. I'm also leaning toward the thought that the timing was bad for me -- you should probably take that into account. I began reading this book on the plane at the end of a tiring vacation and I'm still a bit sapped of my youthful energy. I think it's a pleasant read and that hint of mystery might be more enjoyable to others than it was to me.

Cover thoughts: I love the cover. Gardening figures heavily into the characterization and the flowers and background fit nicely. The pretty floral dress appears at some point -- I can't remember when, but I remember the "Aha!" moment when I realized the description of a particular dress fit the cover image. I think that floral skirt also somehow symbolizes youth and hope to me.

Up next: I'm going to back-track and write brief reviews of the two books I finished in Costa Rica: Real Solutions for Busy Moms by Kathy Ireland and Spiced by Dalia Jurgensen. However, I'll have to squeeze those in between blog tour posts. I'm currently reading one of this week's tour books, So Not Happening by Jenny B. Jones, and finding it absolutely hilarious.

My sidebar is completely out of date. Pardon me while I catch up with myself. I hope to amend that, soon.

My latest Poppet acquisition is nameless and only posed once on the trip to Costa Rica. Here you see Poor Nameless Dr. Poppet gazing out at the beautiful green landscape from our balcony in Monteverde. Lucky Poppet, eh?


  1. I love that little poppet :D I bought the whole set of them :/ I can't help myself...have you seen the new ones that she has?? The ones that are sitting down and reading? They're awesome! I might have bought one of those too...and maybe a little yellow

    Is Spiced the book about the pastry chef? I just got an ARC of that one!

  2. wonderful reviwew Nancy! I think I may take a look at this book sometime but it won't be a high prioity for me.

    I love your new header, very spring like!

  3. I didn't care for this one, but my favorite character was also Helen.

  4. I've wanted to read The House on Tradd Street for a while too, so when I saw the author had a new book out, I was anxious to read about it. I think I'd still like to read it, even if it is predictable.

  5. I really liked this book. YOu know I don't think I mentioned Helen in my review and yet I loved her now that I see you mention her. It's funny how people react different to characters in a book, isn't it? I felt close to the characters in this novel.

    I agree on the cover. This is such a pretty one!

  6. Chris,

    I bought two of the steampunk poppets, but nope . . . I haven't seen the readers. Oh, dear. You're going to get me in trouble, again. I love poppets.

    Yes, Spiced is the book about the pastry chef. It's occasionally a little steamy, since she talks about her sex life (sigh) but I loved the cooking bits. I think you'll enjoy it. :)

    Teddy Rose,

    Thank you! While this one didn't ever really grab me and hang on, I'm still very anxious to read Tradd Street -- maybe because it's a ghost story. I can't get enough of ghost stories. And, thanks. That's a Costa Rican bird. It was certainly springy in Costa Rica! :)


    I'm kind of relieved to know I'm not the only person who didn't love this book, since I've read some very positive reviews. Helen was a marvelous character, wasn't she? I loved her attitude and her strength.

  7. Kathy,

    That's exactly why I was interested in this title, because I'd read so many wonderful reviews of Tradd Street. I liked it; I just didn't love it. It never really grabbed me. But, I've seen a lot of very positive reviews.


    I wonder if your review was one of those that kept me going. I did need a little shove, around page 75 or so, just to keep going. I'm not sure why I never really got excited about those characters, but it could be partly because of the horse thing. I've been on a horse exactly once and it was a terrible experience. I was given a nag with a bladder problem. LOL Everyone went off without me and my horse kept stopping to pee -- gallons and very splashy. I was not a happy camper.

  8. I have The House on Tradd Street on my shelf but haven't read it yet. I hope that it lives up to the good reviews. As for this book, I think I will pass on it for now.

  9. Alyce,

    I've read mostly positive reviews of The Lost Hours, so don't skip it on my account. I'm a little green with envy over your copy of Tradd Street. :)

  10. I enjoy reading your observation about books, the poorer I get the More I appreciate money-saving measures lol and I adore the puppet...

  11. Rainy,

    Thank you, sweetie. I've always been kind of weird about hating debt and wanting to save my pennies, but I think that all comes of having frugal parents and a father who was an accountant. Poppet would love you, too, although they tend to be a little leery of cats, who are very big and sniffy and knock them over.

  12. I love that last picture.

  13. The House on Tradd Street is on my wish list, too! And so is this one.

  14. Margay,

    I should probably look at the library. Karen White seems like the kind of author my librarian would like. Small towns mean the librarian's taste shows!

  15. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I thought it was predictable, too, but that didn't stop me from loving it. Helen was a great character.

    Diary of an Eccentric


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