The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Set in 1950s London, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets centers around Penelope, the wide-eyed daughter of a legendary beauty, Talitha, who lost her husband to the war. Penelope, with her mother and brother, struggles to maintain their vast and crumbling ancestral home—while postwar London spins toward the next decade’s cultural revolution.
Penelope wants nothing more than to fall in love, and when her new best friend, Charlotte, a free spirit in the young society set, drags Penelope into London with all of its grand parties, she sets in motion great change for them all. Charlotte’s mysterious and attractive brother Harry uses Penelope to make his American ex-girlfriend jealous, with unforeseen consequences, and a dashing, wealthy American movie producer arrives with what might be the key to Penelope’s—and her family’s—future happiness.
Vibrant, witty, and filled with vivid historical detail, this is an utterly unique debut novel about a time and place just slipping into history.
Praise For The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets…
"As stylish, rich, and skillfully tailored as a gorgeous 1950s vintage coat . . . . With its quirky characters and lush English settings, it made me long to have lived in the London Eva Rice has evoked."—Kate Harrison, author of The Starter Marriage
"Rice’s remarkable gift for creating singular characters in this memorable story underscores her presence as a fresh new voice in fiction."—Publishers Weekly
Plume, 9780452288096, 368pp.
Publication Date: March 27, 2007
About the Author
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
How does The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets seem the perfect title to describe Eva Rice’s novel?
Do you think that in the present day we have lost the “Art of Keeping Secrets?”
How does the time frame of the 1950s play an important role in the novel?
Why does Penelope find Charlotte so fascinating? Would you have gone along with Charlotte’s invitation to share a cab?
How does the voice of the narrator contribute to the story?
Have you met people like Charlotte who have transformed your life?
One of the most important characters in the novel is Magna, the immense old house. How is the house crucial?
Describe the relationship between Penelope and her mother.
How has the loss of Archie affected the family?
Why does Penelope find America so fascinating?
How is Johnny Ray important to Penelope and Charlotte? Have any music or film idols played a similar role in your life?
How can The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets be seen as a fairy tale for grownups?
How is The Long Gallery at Magna important?
Through Penelope, Eva Rice conveys so well what it is like to be young and giddy and in love. Does her description of youth fit with your conception of it?
Does the fate of Magna seem appropriate? How does the author foreshadow the ending?