“Lost & Found” by Brooke Davis (2015) – Thoroughly Modern Millie

Quite a turn out for the books for our literary group last week: it’s not often we are graced by the presence of a published author, and this time around it was a “double whammy”, as Brooke Davis came together with her literary agent Thomasin, who is based in Brussels.

Brooke hails from Australia, but after the whirlwind success of her first novel, she has been galloping around Europe and attending books signings and interviews left, right and centre, so we were jolly pleased to have her in our midst for a few chatty hours.

It was actually only after the evening that I did a spot of stalking to read a little more about the authoress, largely because I was so surprised to learn that Brooke is actually in her thirties.

On first sight, she appears to be in her early twenties (oh to be mistaken for a forty year old this end), and she was wearing stripy tights and an elfin look that decidedly conjured up her 7 year old heroine Millie Bird. We did touch upon the personal tragedy that had been the backbone for a book that turned out to be six long years in the writing, but I had not realised that the loss of Brooke’s mother was caused by a freak accident that must have left more questions than answers during the lengthy grieving process. This background info wasn’t included in my copy, and I rather wish it had been, for the reviews I have since perused by readers who had been given these details had a very different outlook with their subsequent reading of the story.

That the author is no rush to write another book and capitalise on the bestseller’s lists she has found herself joining is quite telling, I think. There is very much a sense of awareness of carpe diem as a philosophy here, as well as a delight in revelling in the chart-busting she most certainly didn’t see coming until it was upon her. To a degree, real life is a bit like this read – there is something surreal and almost fairytale about it all.

“Lost & Found” is nothing if not quirky. That’s the word that seems to come up as a constant. It is by turn whimsical, poignant, darkly humorous and always slightly unbelievable. Above all, it is a book that is just dripping with a sensation of unbridled optimism. I did think more than fleetingly about the ancient Swedish man jumping out of his window and British Harold trailing his moccasins along those windy never-ending roads as I read, so for me this story joined the realms of books with a hint of magic realism about them (I am mixing my genres, I do realise). I do struggle with situations depicting real life but unrealistic happenings, so just as with “The Master and Margarita” and other gems that overly stretch the imagination, I found myself thinking on occasion “that wouldn’t have happened like that”, and I think it is key to not bother about the (im)probability of the plot. Far more interesting to just go with the flow and enjoy the quirkiness to the full.

I think Millie, Karl and Agatha (Pantha) are going to divide the crowds – some will be bowled over by the heart-rending dilemma the child has to deal with and be delighted with the quirky – see, just said it again – style and ultimately feel-good messages, including the unlikely prospect of amour at an advanced age; others will be dampened by the over-the-top wackiness and zany oddness and risk disappointment as the novel draws to its conclusion.

I fell firmly on my bottom between the two camps. One thing is for certain: each of us to a (wo)man was absolutely entranced by Brooke on the night: she was warm, engaging, unassuming, quietly delighted by her success, and extremely articulate – in short, she bowled every single one of us over, and I am going to re-read “L&F” in a few months from a different standpoint. I hope she will decide to pick up her pen again in the not too distant, for I feel sure there is much more to come and will be watching with what I confess feels very much like maternal interest from afar. May the magic long continue….

Rating : 7/10

Winner of the General Fiction Book of the Year and Matt Richell New Writer of the Year, Australian Book Industry Awards 2015. Shortlisted for the Indie Book Awards Debut Fiction for 2015.

Images taken from here and here and here.
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7 Responses to “Lost & Found” by Brooke Davis (2015) – Thoroughly Modern Millie

  1. Caroline B says:

    Very well said Nicola! I think I rather enjoyed L&F because it was a short escape from reality. And I very much enjoyed spending a few hours with this lovely young woman!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Caroline, you are right – hit the nail on the head. Very lovely indeed. xx

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  3. Julie says:

    I agree with all you say and after meeting Brooke I felt that I was perhaps too old and jaded to have been the target audience for the book. I felt like it was my fault that I hadn’t loved the book because it was a well written, humorous, whacky adventure and I should have been caught up in it but my inherent older woman grumpiness (not quite at the Agatha stage yet) prevented me from entering into the spirit of the novel. But it was a pleasure to meet Brooke and like you, I may revisit the book and try to catch some of the fizz.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Inherent old woman grumpiness” is the phrase of the week, of the decade perhaps. I was thinking that this is where it is so true that reading a book is such a personal experience – you can read the same thing as an 18 year old and revisit it in a completely different light in your 40s/50s (thinking of “Bonjour Tristesse” for example), and it also changes according to experiences you have had etc etc. I think this is a book where reading it from a certain perspective counts more than for others. So won’t wait till am actually entering the Agatha stage to revisit!

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  5. Denise says:

    Bonjour Tristesse is a good example of a book that can change in different lights – like colours that look different in different lights! I think I might be hearing from about this from the blogosphere, sounds very charming and different.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TimPa59 says:

    I think young Miss P should read this, Millie ref and all. I’m wrapped up in ‘The Night Circus’ at the moment. Other worldy.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Book Group I – Paris Evening Group | Literary ramblings etc

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