Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets” as Want to Read:
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  4,666 ratings  ·  669 reviews
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 t ...more
Kindle Edition, 450 pages
Published (first published January 1st 2005)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Mariel
Jun 19, 2011 Mariel rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Rory and the Storms
Recommended to Mariel by: Mariel and Hurricanes
This is another vaguely rip-offish version of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. Confession? I'm not original about selecting books to read. I was looking at different book sites on the web and putting in favorite books to see what came up when I came across The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets. I'd read all of the books that were like all of my other favorites, except for Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle (I'm still planning on reading the others, as well. Bring on the Elvis impersonators!). I ne ...more
Melee
Before I read this book, I had a feeling that I was going to like it a lot. Whether it was the vintage dresses displayed on the cover or the numerous comparisons to "I Capture the Castle", I am not sure. But needless to say, I was not disappointed.


This book is neither suspenseful nor innovative but I couldn't put it down until I had finished it.
I love the characters Eva Rice has created. They are undeniably quirky, but not so much as to make them unbelievable.
And I was enchanted with the descr
...more
Lara
Oct 21, 2008 Lara rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone.
Shelves: favorites
I think this book is going to find a spot on my list of favorite books of all time. I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved everything about it. It reminded me a little of Pride & Prejudice, just set in a different era and with a different plot.

This snippet of conversation between two of the main characters pretty much sums up my love of this book:

Charlotte: "[My mother] hates having me at home - plowing through the books in her library and kicking my heels up at night. She think
...more
Amanda
What wonderful read in which nothing quite so amazing occurs until you're absolutely, positively addicted to the world of the novel and just don't know how it happened.

Penelope writes her story of the awkward turning point from girl to woman. The minimal tidbits which revealed her older and wiser voice do not overpower the present tense of main story, but rather added small insights about the future.

As characters moved in and out of her life I would mourn their departure, celebrate returns, an
...more
Carrie
I suggested this as January’s book club book because I was looking for something that was not too taxing, but still respectable, and this turned out to be the perfect choice. It is the story of Penelope Wallace (actually Lady Penelope, though not too much is made of that), an impoverished noblewoman (or rather an impoverished eighteen year old girl), whose family owns a stately home of England, but one that is falling apart since her father died in the war hot on the heals of her grandparents an ...more
Kimz Zahour
I can't say exactly what it is about this book that is so captivating... but it truly is. It's beautifully written, almost poetic, here is one of my favorite lines during a lull in an intense "duck supper" conversation; "Like the curious pause that takes place before blood seeps out from a cut finger, we all sat quite still...".
Flipping through the pages was more like hearing the narrative of an actress like Emma Thompson with a wonderful British accent rather than reading. After a session, I wa
...more
Josie
Sep 18, 2009 Josie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of I Capture the Castle/Love in a Cold Climate
Recommended to Josie by: LibraryThing
I knew I'd love this book when I opened it up and saw that the author had written (among others) a non-fiction book titled Who's Who in Enid Blyton. Classic.
It's 1954, and six-foot-nothing Penelope Wallace lives with her younger brother Inigo, and her beautiful mother Talitha in their enormous family 'home', Milton Magna. It is falling apart, yet they cannot afford to repair it, and their financial struggles are becoming concerning. (Sound familiar, Dodie Smith fans?) Penelope studies English an
...more
Blair
Before I say anything else about this book, I'd like to state for the record that I am definitely not a fan of 'chick lit'; anything with a pastel cover promising a stereotypical romantic storyline usually sends me running for the hills. So when a friend recommended this novel to me, I was initially unsure; but the 1950s setting and glowing reviews persuaded me to read on. I'm very glad I did.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a real treat - the literary equivalent of a huge slice of chocolate c
...more
Elizabeth

I *loved* this book. The whole reading experience was self-indulgent. God knows why I picked it up - I liked the look of the cover, I think, after reading someone else’s enthusiastic Goodreads review.

It is I Capture the Castle Lite. Or I Capture the Castle set 20 years later on, in a giddy 1954/1955 England gorging itself on butter and sugar and bacon and pop music after 15 years of austerity and rationing. The castle in question is the wonderful, decaying and doomed Great House Milton Magna
...more
Beth
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets takes place in 1950s England, after the war is finally over and people are learning to live again.

That's what this book is about. This book is color and vitality and giddiness and euphoria. Life is an endless stream of thrilling, heady adjectives, a whirling mass of energy and joy and excitement; every occurrence is larger than life in a way that it would be had it been forbidden or impossible just years back.

For careful Penelope, the protagonist, learning to liv
...more
CLM
Aug 03, 2009 CLM rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Atonement, I Capture the Castle
Penelope is waiting for a bus in London when swept away by Charlotte, an impetuous young woman wearing homemade clothes, who needs someone to share a taxi. Charlotte brings Penelope home to meet her aunt Clare and cousin Harry, and Penelope is pulled into a more entertaining world than offered by the Wiltshire countryside where she lives with her mother and slightly younger brother. It is the 1950s, and on the one hand Penelope is still affected by the loss of her father in WWII but she and her ...more
Cristina Chaves
It made me want to get a vintage Dior dress, put on some red lipstick and enjoy life a bit more. Very endearing <3
Sarah
I loved this, it was original and quirky and funny and delightful. A lot of similarities to I Capture the Castle, but that can only be a good thing. I particularly enjoyed Julian the Loaf (I laughed and laughed over that conversation when Harry was calling someone weird and Penelope was like 'look who's talking, you kept a loaf of bread as a pet' and Harry was like 'leave Julian out of this'.) I loved Harry in general, he was my favourite character, along with Charlotte, who I pictured as lookin ...more
Chana
Penelope and Inigo Wallace live with their young, beautiful and widowed mother in a glorious, crumbling medieval English mansion. It is one of the last of the great houses and it is falling down around them as they have no money to keep it up. The year is 1954, Penelope is 18 and Inigo 16. Jonnie Ray is all the rage as a pop star, rationing has ended, the youth of England are bursting with life and change. Elvis Presley is about to be discovered in the U.S.
Into this setting enter Charlotte and
...more
Sarah
4.5 stars. I really, really liked this--like, a lot--and wonder why I didn't become more popular. Well, I'm basing my perception of its lack of buzz on the fact that I'd never heard of it, which maybe isn't exactly the final word in things, but even though this is just the kind of thing I'm always on the lookout for, I only stumbled across it randomly on the shelf at the library, and selected it mostly because the cover is fantastic, and I'm in love with the dresses pictured. Then I heard it men ...more
Beth Anne
i am not sure why i loved this book so much. but i did. i found myself thoroughly captivated from beginning to end...never wanting the to put the book down until it ended...but also never wanting it to end.

i cried at the end...well towards the middle end. Penelope was an amazing storyteller...had a great voice...and a really wonderful story to tell. right from the start, i was hooked on every single person's tale...invested in each of their outcomes.

i randomly picked up this book, mostly becaus
...more
Trena
Jan 05, 2009 Trena rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Trena by: Book Club
Well-written Anglophile chick lit with some 50s fashion thrown in? Yes, please! This soapy little post-war romance among impoverished toffs coming of age in the time period that kind of invented coming of age is a fun read. Please note this gets four stars within its genre, not four stars in the grand scheme of Literature.

The only thing that bugged me is the author is described as the daughter of lyricist Tim Rice, which, first of all, I'm glad I didn't read before I finished the book because wh
...more
Elizabeth Emily Browne
I absolutely loved this book. I have been really lucky this month as all my reads have been brilliant. Can't wait for the next one.

However back to the book at hand. It was classy and eloquent and I loved everything about it. Penelope was simply magnificent. A lot of people on here are saying that it's like another certain book but I have not read it yet. So for me this was totally new rather than sounding repeated or copied. Had I have read the other book I may have felt differently.

However as
...more
Ruby
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is probably being promoted as chick-lit. That's at least what I thought when I went into it. But it's so much more. It's a story of love, friendship, music, coming of age, big houses, poverty, a sad, beautiful Mama, moving on after the Second Worldwar and it moved me, for I cried and I laughed and sometimes I cried and laughed at the same time. It was much more special than I could ever have thought. (except for the names. I didn't like those at all, Charlotte, Ha ...more
Samantha Kilford
I consider it an honour to have been sent this novel in order to review and after reading it, I can't believe my luck because it's such a mesmirising novel!

Massive thank you and bookish hugs to generous lot at Headline/Bookbridgr for sending me a SIGNED(!!!) limited edition (no 78 out of 100 - baby!) tenth anniversary copy of Eva Rice's The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets in exchange for a review.

I don't think there's anything I can fault Eva Rice's charming The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets on.
Set
...more
oOSarahOo ☼Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans☼
What a delightful read! I just loved the characters, the 1950s setting, the fresh writing style, the humour... everything! Of course the plot is predictable but I enjoyed the narrative so much it didn't bother me at all:) This book is simply charming, enchanting, wonderful! What else can I say? I loved it!
Karen
This was a finalist for the British book award "Best read of the Year". I read it on the plane from L.A. to Boston; what a fun airplane read! Post World War II London; young British upper class. Again, a vacation read, but a REALLY good one. Couldn't put it down.
Amy
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets : I Capture the Castle ; Anne of Green Gables series : Little Women series


If you are interested in this book, you should really read I Capture the Castle first.

Thoroughly enjoyed it. Couldn't put it down. Actually carried it from room to room, task to task. But it's very neat and tidy, and I wasn't left with that heavy but rapturous feeling that I got from I Capture the Castle.

Oh and here's my favorite line from the book.
“I caught her setting a mousetrap in her b
...more
Debbie Robson
What a delight! I've always felt that the 1950s is a neglected decade as far as fiction goes and in Eva Rice's hands the decade (or at least the years 1954/55) are tellingly drawn. I love the descriptions and the feel of the house Magna, the parties at Dorset House and the Ritz and the afternoons at Aunt Clare's.
This is an intelligent and atmospheric book which is very well written. It is a pity because of these things that there were a few discrepancies. For one I couldn't get Penelope's age r
...more
Gwenyth
I've read a few books recently based on goodread's newish recommendations feature. They'be been hit or miss, this one is similar. It was recommended to me because I liked "I Capture the Castle". Superficially they are similar books (girls growing up in England the 50s), but in no way did it make me sit up and take notice like Dodie Smith did.

Nevertheless it was light, mostly fun to read, and I would pass it on to certain friends for something like a long plane flight or a beach read.

The most gl
...more
Book Concierge
Penelope Wallace meets Charlotte Ferris at a bus stop, when the latter insists Penelope accompany her to her Aunt Clare’s for tea. It is 1950s London, and the two young women, seemingly very different, become fast friends, moving through elegant parties, sharing a crush on singer/heartthrob Johnnie Ray, and exploring various love interests. Together they weather the changes in British post-war society, and in their own family situations.

I really enjoyed this novel. Through her characters, Rice
...more
Leah K
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

+ heart

Synopsis off of Amazon: 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, C
...more
Louise
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chachic
Originally posted here.

It's amazing how an invitation to afternoon tea can change everything and yet that is what happens when Penelope is dragged by Charlotte to tea at Aunt Clare's. Penelope lives in a crumbling, ancestral home called Milton Magna with her younger brother and mother. Penelope's mother, Talitha, is a sensational beauty who doesn't quite know what to do with the house and her children now that her husband is gone because of the war. Money is a constant problem in their everyday
...more
Zora
This opens in a way that brought hope to my chest. An English girl is waiting for a bus, a totally strange girl comes and asks her for tea, there's some sprightly conversation over tea that didn't quite make me smile but hinted I might eventually. Then the girl goes home and the author falls into the conditional and I get a bunch of historical detail that doesn't connect to anything in the first scene. Every once in awhile a sentence appears in real time, like the girl hangs up her coat, but onl ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Vintage Book Group: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets 6 16 Sep 06, 2013 07:56AM  
  • The Sisters Mortland
  • The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals, #2)
  • The Conjurer's Bird
  • Indiscretion
  • The Pursuit of Love & Love in a Cold Climate
  • Innocence
  • Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front 1939-1942
  • Nightingale Wood
  • Campari for Breakfast
  • The Glimmer Palace
  • South Riding
  • The Firemaster's Mistress (Francis Quoynt #1)
  • Consequences
  • Netherwood
  • Housewrights
  • Gone with the Windsors
  • The Light Years
  • The Town in Bloom
The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp Standing Room Only Butterfly Sting Who's Who in Enid Blyton Love Notes For Freddie

Share This Book

“Men, I thought, were more trouble than they were worth. Really, one should stick to books where one sees the hero coming a mile off.” 54 likes
“Like all intelligent people, she functions very well in extreme disorder.” 41 likes
More quotes…