We are all memory keepers. Recalling and memorializing the past is an essential part of the human experience, whether through photographs, videos or little mementos that line our shelves. Amy Ashton, the 30-something protagonist of Eleanor Ray’s debut novel, The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton, has perhaps taken this habit a bit too far.
In the London suburbs, Amy’s collection of trinkets has grown out of hand. Once destined to become a painter, Amy now channels her creativity into finding ways to navigate the zigzagging trail through the boxes that fill her home—boxes of broken things, porcelain birds, empty bottles, coffee mugs, cookbooks, newspapers, mirrors, plant pots and vases with long-dead honeysuckles inside.
Her collection can best be described as junk, and cultivating it is Amy’s way of dealing with the shocking tragedy that turned her life upside down over a decade ago. But when a family moves in next door, Amy learns that 8-year-old Charles has developed his own obsessions to handle the quirks of life. Initially annoyed by the neighborly interferences, Amy slowly warms to Charles’ friendship and the help offered by his family.
The Missing Treasures of Amy Ashton is heartwarming and tender as it pokes fun at the absurdities and tragedies of life with quintessential British humor. Supporting characters add to the charm and mystery in Amy’s quest for a better future, one that’s unencumbered by junk.
This is an ideal read for anyone looking for a good-humored and uplifting story, but especially for those who enjoyed Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Ruth Hogan’s The Keeper of Lost Things.