Author: Kelly Doust
Harper CollinsRRP $29.99
Review: Monique Mulligan

A beaded collar, found scrunched at the bottom of a box of old junk. What’s its story? That’s what Maggie, a modern-day auctioneer in London, wonders when she finds the collar, cleans it, and recognises that once, long ago, it was someone’s precious thing. Drawing on her own love of finding precious things, author Kelly Doust delivers a captivating read about the things in life we hold dear, both material and emotional.

When Maggie is asked to find out more about the collar’s history, she’s more than happy to follow through. It intrigues her, glittering with the promise of secrets: “…it seemed somehow…alive, almost.” For the reader, who is privy to more of the collar’s secrets than Maggie will ever discover, the collar has a fascinating story, beginning as a wedding dress adornment, and morphing into a beaded headpiece (or coronet) worn as part of a costume. The collar is present at weddings, births, deaths and separations – all themselves precious or critical memories in its various owners’ lives.


For Maggie, this mission to uncover the collar’s background leads to a greater understanding of herself and her own story; it becomes attached to her own story when it draws attention away from her family and marriage, putting her already-pressured marriage on the line. Readers will see this theme throughout the narrative, of the deceptive nature of shiny, sparkly things, and how they can distract from what really matters in life. All of the collar’s owners learn important life lessons, but for some the lessons have greater consequences. That’s life … that’s people.


Doust has crafted an intricate tale that is engaging on a number of levels. Many readers will relate to Maggie – juggling motherhood, marriage and the desire for a career. They will appreciate the desire to ‘have it all’ without being judged for trying to do so. I also related to Maggie for her love of story – many times I have wondered about the stories behind the old objects I’ve come across in op shops, markets and antique shops. Other readers will relate to the other characters, some of whom have fleeting moments of narrative, but still manage to convey much about desire, love and things they hold dear.


Available from good bookstores. My copy was courtesy of Harper Collins.



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