I rate this book a massive 5 stars!

This is a book about life; about loss and how it affects people differently, but this isn’t a run of the mill novel. It is awesome and stunningly astute; I am almost at a loss for words how good this book is. I said almost!

With six main protagonists who have equally complex characters this book appears to be breaking all the rules for a successful novel, and each of the people have equal importance in this observational novel of human circumstance.

This book is added to my favourites of all time list, and will stay with me for a long time.



Mrs Featherby had been having pleasant dreams until she woke to discover the front of her house had vanished overnight …

On a seemingly normal morning in London, a group of people all lose something dear to them, something dear but peculiar: the front of their house, their piano keys, their sense of direction, their place of work.

Meanwhile, Jake, a young boy whose father brings him to London following his mother’s sudden death in an earthquake, finds himself strangely attracted to other people’s lost things. But little does he realise that his most valuable possession, his relationship with his dad, is slipping away from him.


Cassie’s inability to move on in life
Anthony’s inability to ‘see’ his son through his own grief
Jake’s inability to see his Dad Anthony
Robert’s inability to face changing the habit of work he hates so much, his wife Mara realisation he sacrifice himself to suit her lifestyle but doesn’t want it to change, five year old Bonny excluded from school for singing.
Jake lost his mother and loses his Dad in plain site, Anthony loses sight of his son.
Marcus loses the keys from his piano and is losing his mind
Mrs Featherstone lost the front of her house, and her ability to remain hidden
Delia has lost her way in her life becoming dependent on her dependent mother.

How was this book different?

First of all I love the cover it’s spot on and drew my interest immediately.

Writing with a character being the focus of each chapter, they connect in ways that are very satisfying, and
they felt so real to me, that I could empathise with each of them.

Matthewson has a wonderful way of giving character details condensed into a simple sentence and does so exquisitely well which tells us all, and more about them:

Mrs Featherby, whose first name was Wendy, or had been many years earlier, …..


…just wanted it to still be important to someone that he was having a birthday

The Masters Degree Delia had to cease because of her mothers accident:

Sometimes you can return to an opinion you’ve not visited in years and find it’s died and rotted away without you even noticing.

She invites you to think about the benefits of Delia losing her way but noticing more around her.

As terrifying as it was to be completely lost, there was something about it she enjoyed, something that made it worth the fear.

It had never occurred to her that her struggle to find her way would get worse over time. That it would grow into an inability to follow clearly marked signs.

What happens when your whole life has been defined by your job, to ‘lose’ it is to lose yourself and when Robert’s employment appears never to have existed, it wiped his life of meaning and purpose in an instant.

The saying ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ is strong in mind when reading this book, exploring and challenging the importance of blind monotony of our lives.

As well as loss, the characters illustrates fear in all forms; fear of changing what is no longer comfortable, fear of doing nothing, fear of feeling, the fear of failing. For Cassie fear of moving on, she takes root as a tree.

The loss of losing his mind was real for Marcus, describing early dementia with the fear of that comes with the loss of the past. So cleverly shown with the loss of his piano keys from the piano he built but could not mend; he was also unable to mend himself.

This is in no way a depressing book, there is a much uplifting side to the novel, I absolutely loved the way it delved into and connected each of their lives.

I strongly recommend anyone to read this book who has an interest in people.


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book via NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.

  • Published by HarperCollins UK, HarperPress/4th Estate/The Friday Project | The Friday Project
  • Pub Date: Aug 28 2014
  • ISBN: 9780007562480