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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Funny and Emotional Debut novel
I love books in general, but I really love beautiful books, books where the designer has actually thought about what the story is saying rather than just bish, bash, bosh, get it on the shelves. Bearing this in mind, I was thrilled to receive this book and find that it is just my kind of beautiful book.

The cover really reflects what's going on inside the book...
Published 21 months ago by Stacey Woods

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found
The book was very interesting and quite innovative, but not as enjoyable as I expected. Felt very sorry for the cat.
Published 14 months ago by wendy smallman


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, Funny and Emotional Debut novel, 12 Mar 2013
By 
Stacey Woods (Poole, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
I love books in general, but I really love beautiful books, books where the designer has actually thought about what the story is saying rather than just bish, bash, bosh, get it on the shelves. Bearing this in mind, I was thrilled to receive this book and find that it is just my kind of beautiful book.

The cover really reflects what's going on inside the book - the two lonely, isolated figures connected only by the letters that she is sending, but look closer and you'll see the edges of the book have the same markings as an airmail envelope. Then look inside, not to the first page, but to the inside cover, which is decorated in the same way as the inside of an airmail envelope (please note by the time I got this far I was practically clapping my hands in glee). It's these little details that add so much to a reading experience and - while I love my Kindle - you just don't get that with an ebook.

So, if you'll excuse my rhapsodising over the book's cover, perhaps you'd like to know a little about what's in it...

Carol is in a marriage that she now realises was a mistake and has a daughter that she just doesn't understand. After finally deciding to leave her husband, he breaks his own news that he may have cancer, thus trapping her one again. Carol's friend suggests that she saves money on a therapist and instead writes a letter to the universe. No-one ever has to read it, but knowing that it's out there will help Carol work out what she wants and needs to do.

Little does Carol realise that her letters will be read, by Albert, a widowed postman who is coming to his retirement age with only a cat and an obnoxious neighbour for company. Carol's letter, arriving with a smiley face instead of an address, give Albert a new window on the world and he approaches each day with the hope of the next letter.

I tend to read a lot of crime fiction, so it was nice to read something gentle for a change, something with a bit of heart to it. The only thing I did miss while reading the book was the `highlight' function from the Kindle as Tom Winter makes some really witty and wry remarks while writing Carol. Her thoughts on her suburban world and her neighbours are cutting, but things I think we've all thought once in a while! The interesting thing about the book is that both Carol and Albert are plain and fairly uninteresting in themselves, but Albert's reaction to the letters and the way Carol changes through writing them give the novel its focus.

This book is Tom Winter's debut novel and it deserves unreserved praise for its emotional depth, sometimes hilarious turn of phrase and very, very satisfying conclusion.
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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, yet heartbreaking novel, 21 Feb 2013
By 
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
Lost & Found is about two lost souls - Carol, unhappily married, and Albert, a widower who lives in a grim council estate with only his cat Gloria for company. Carol starts writing letters to the universe about her life and Albert, nearing retirement age at the post office and sorting undeliverable mail, begins to read them.

I loved this novel. It's not a love story, or a romance. Instead it's about friendship, loneliness and family. It made me snort with laughter on several occasions and also left me in tears. The author is really skilled at writing in a bittersweet style that keeps you turning the pages as you want to know how things turn out for both of them.

I really recommend this for anyone who likes a heartfelt novel which is a bit quirky and different. I finished the book with tears streaming down my face and will be eagerly recommending it to all of my friends.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dear Universe..., 26 Feb 2013
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
`Lost & Found' was a very enjoyable read with it's perfect synchronicity of poignancy, sadness but cut through with a biting wit. We are absorbed into the world of Carol, an ordinary middle-aged woman who has reached a momentous decision to leave her huband, the affable but essentially dull Bob. But Bob's got bad news of a medical nature, and Carol becomes trapped, her only outlet being her emotive outpourings in letter form addressed to the universe, and intercepted at the local Royal Mail depot by Albert, a lonely man on the cusp of retirement. As Carol's yearning for freedom and feelings of resentment intensify, Albert becomes further entangled in this stranger's life, whilst struggling to keep a grip on his own, but are they destined to meet? Through well crafted characterisation and a book that encapsulates so many of the frustrations of everyday life and growing older, Winter immerses us completely in the complications of these people's lives. We observe the regret of opportunities lost and old loves lost as Carol and Albert navigate the channels of other's selfishness and the unsatisfactory nature of their own lives which is so touching and heartfelt, but the whole book is juxtaposed with a savage wit that had me laughing from the second page and throughout. The humour not only adds a lightness to the whole thing, but the nature of the humour adds a greater level of pathos to the whole affair and works incredibly well. The plot is well paced and as the story rotates between Carol and Albert there is no feeling that one is more engaging than the other as they work seamlessly in tandem. Personally, I was a little unsure of the ending but would stress that overall this was a clever and engrossing snapshot of modern life, and the fear of being alone, but also more poignantly, in a marriage feeling alone.

Very similar in style to `The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry' and the wonderful `The Thoughts and Happenings of Wilfred Price..', Tom Winter has created a genuinely unputdownable book that pivots the reader emotionally from the outset. A wonderful debut...
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, well-written story, 22 Feb 2013
By 
JudithAnn (Houten, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
This book has two main characters who don't know each other. First we meet Carol, almost 40 years old, with a husband and a grown up daughter. She's had enough of her life as a good wife to a boring husband and today is the day that she'll tell him she's leaving. But before she gets the chance, he tells her he's got a lump, which turns out to be malignant. So she does "the right thing" and stays. Her friend suggests she writes her troubles in letters to "the universe", as this should make her feel better about her situation.

The other character is Albert, a postman nearing his pension and considered a bit useless at work. He's sidetracked into the undeliverable mail room, where he is to sort the mail that is going to be destroyed, as no recipient nor sender can be found for it. There, he finds Carols's letters. These cheer him up and make him think that life may be worthwhile after all.

This was a fun and easy read. It deals with heavy topics but in a lighthearted way. For instance, the way Albert, a pensioner, is treated at work and at home (by his neighbours). Carol, staying in her loveless marriage with a secret from long ago. Both characters were very likable. While they are in very different situations, Carol's letters do help Albert to make something of his life before it's too late, and that is wonderful. Meanwhile, Carol's letters are helping herself as well, as things become clearer to her.

I very much enjoyed reading this book.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I found this!, 11 April 2013
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This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
Lost and Found is about two lonely people, middle-aged Carol and imminent-to-be-retired Albert. Carol is trapped in a loveless marriage to Bob, estranged by her bright teenage daughter and seemingly despised by her mother. Albert works for the Post Office, lives in concrete hell on a London council estate, lost his wife decades years ago and is caring for his sick, nay suicidal, cat.

Just as Carol reaches a decision about her life and is poised to act she is thwarted by tragic news. Her frustration and anger at the circumstances lead her to write an open letter to the universe. Albert, sidelined in his last days on the job, finds her letter and what follows is a witty, beautifully observed story of the unconnected relationship between the two.

I cannot tell you how much love I have for Lost & Found. Tom's writing is sparing and precise but packed full of heart and humour. His characters are the people we all know. Indeed, they are us. It had me laughing out loud one moment and in tears the next. The ending is surprising and satisfying without feeling forced. A book full of gems. Damn good job, sir. Damn good.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sweet, light and whimsical, 19 Mar 2013
By 
K. J. Noyes "Katy Noyes" (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
Review copy for Waterstones.

Carol is unhappy in her marriage, not getting on well with her teenage daughter and looking to leave her husband. Then he tells her he thinks he has cancer. Albert is a month away from retiring as a Royal Mail employee, widowed and lonely. Carol eases her frustration by writing anonymous letters, which Albert, in his dead-end job, opens and reads. And begins to feel inspired by.

I started this with high expectations; I loved the premise. A lovely idea, reminiscent of books I've read lately such as Harold Fry and Wife 22.

For me, Albert's was the more poignant and moving of the two stories; his long-standing devotion to his wife (and cat) and joy at reading Carol's letters. Carol was harder to like; her treatment of her husband (who himself is a bit of a whiner) and dismissal of the failing relationship with her daughter making her less sympathetic.
I did enjoy the book, was swept up in the letters, in Albert's impending retirement and battle with his horrible neighbour, but felt the ending was a little bit of a letdown, though it ties things up very well and gives each character fulfilment of one sort of other, it was not the ending I was expecting.
Overall, a lovely little read and one I won't regret. Keep picturing the cat though! A reading group would find lots of topics here for discussion; marriage, relationships between parents and children, illness, commitment for starters.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emotional ride, 27 Feb 2013
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
This is a story of many emotions and then some. Just the right amount of humour to counterbalance the sadness of the two main characters Carol,a disillusioned wife, and Albert on the brink of retirement, denigrated by workmates and a neighbour with a cruel streak. As Carol vents her anger through letters to the Universe, Albert(downgraded to the lost letter dept.)reads these letters and sets out on a mission to find her.What ensues is a cleverly plotted storyline with a wonderful cast of characters. Combining a clever mix of humour and pathos, Winter has delivered an utterly charming and enthralling debut novel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a beautiful book to get lost into, 7 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Lost and Found (Kindle Edition)
It's been so long since I've found such a funny and heartfelt book. It was brilliant from start to finish. Two lost souls who eventually find their way.
A beautifully written book with humour, understanding of humanity.
I just loved it, and I really hope you will too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lost and Found, 25 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Lost and Found (Paperback)
The book was very interesting and quite innovative, but not as enjoyable as I expected. Felt very sorry for the cat.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshingly honest, 23 Feb 2013
This review is from: Lost and Found (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book, and found the character of Carol refreshingly honest and open. It isn't a love story, which is also refreshingly different, it's about friendship, family and reality (the openness with which Carol is unhappy is unique). This is not a fairytale, but it is an enjoyable read. There were elements of the book that surprised me (the exact things I thought were predictable were far from it).
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Lost and Found
Lost and Found by Tom Winter
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