The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

I requested this copy from BookBridgr in exchange for an honest review.

Friendships are marvellous things, close as family with more in common and less visual similarities.

I’ve not read, to my failing, a lot of fiction with strong, uncompetitive female friendships (or maybe I have and I’ve forgotten). The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice is a story I shall always remember. Perhaps not for the romantic plot or the family bonding, but definitely for the friendship between Charlotte and Emily. It is one to be strived for.

“Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother Inigo, currently incapable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry…” GoodReads.

I can only describe this a Jolly novel, epitomised by Miranda Hart’s introduction to this edition ten years post original publication. It’s just wonderful and fluffy and just what I needed.

The protagonist Penelope reminded me of Cassandra in I Capture the Castle, consciously naive. She’s being told from all angles that she is just out of touch from everything. Yet, in a way that implies no malice. She is young, eighteen, and very much feels like a girl in youth. She is just on the cusp of knowing about the world.

Her best friend Charlotte is ethereal, full of qualities she admires but doesn’t envy (though does covet off-hand), but to Charlotte, Penelope embodies different enviable qualities. Theirs really is a new found friendship of fun, adventure and importantly, respect.

It was their lovely friendship that carried me through the novel, as at times the story didn’t quite speak to me. In fact for this alone it’s worth reading.

My copy is also signed, which is lovely, big thank you to BookBridgr for that.


Anyone fancy being the Charlotte to my Penelope?

What lovely books on female friendship have you read recently? This one perchance?

9 thoughts on “Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

  1. Lovely books on female friendship are the greatest, and I don’t read nearly enough of them. I had this on a previous iteration of my TBR list and forgot about it, so I’m adding it back now. I didn’t realize Eva Rice was Tim Rice’s daughter, incidentally — crazy!


  2. I would probably be interested in the friendship in that novel too, rather than any romance or that kind of thing. I just feel like in some cases friendship can be more ‘real’ compared to how romances can be portrayed.

    I am reading a young readers book called The Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson that has a friendship between two females. They are mother and daughter, but I think it makes it more interesting as well. The book is very basic, but I actually like it a lot because of that and find it interesting. xD


    1. I completely agree! I’m not a fan of romance, a lot of the time – unless it’s subtle – it’s felt like wish fulfilment. Weirdly though, I love it on TV or on film, just not in book form.

      I remember reading that book when I was younger, Jacqueline Wilson is a hero!


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