Diamonds at the Lost and Found: A Memoir in Search of my Mother

Diamonds at the Lost and Found: A Memoir in Search of my Mother

Sarah Aspinall

For readers of Hideous Kinky, Dadland and Bad Blood; the astonishing, beguiling story of Sarah Aspinall’s harum scarum childhood, and a love letter to a woman who defied convention to live a life less ordinary.

My Mother attracted unusual people and events to her, and she made things happen….

Sarah Aspinall grew up in the glittering wake of her irrepressible mother Audrey. Born into poverty in 1930s Liverpool, Audrey had always known that she was destined for better things and was determined to shape that destiny for herself. From the fading seaside glamour of Southport, to New York and Hollywood, to post-war London and the stately homes of the English aristocracy, Audrey stylishly kicked down every door that opened to her, on a ceaseless quest for excitement – and for love.

Once Sarah was born, she became Audrey’s companion on her adventures, travelling the world, scraping together an education for herself from the books found in hotels or given to her by strangers, and living on Audrey’s charm as they veered from luxury to poverty – an accessory to her mother’s desperate search for ‘the one’.

As Sarah grew older, she realised that theirs was a life hung about with mysteries. Why, for instance, had they spent ages living in a godforsaken motel in the Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina? Who was the charming Sabet Sabescue, and what was his hold over Audrey during several months in Cairo? And what on earth happened to the heirlooms that an ancient heiress, Miss Gillette, gave Sarah when they visited her in Palm Springs? 

And why, when they returned to Southport was Audrey ostracised by the society she so longed to be part of?

Diamonds at the Lost and Found is the story of how Sarah eventually pulled free of her mother’s gravitational pull to carve out a destiny of her own. It’s a memoir about defying convention, and a love letter to an England that has all but disappeared.

Reviews of Diamonds at the Lost and Found: A Memoir in Search of my Mother

    • A great read – what a strange and amazing life! The tone was pitched just right, unflinchingly, but with so much love, and after reading it I felt that maybe I understood something more about the world of women’ Louis Theroux
    • ‘A delicious memoir with echoes of An Education by Lynn Barber and Esther Freud’s Hideous Kinky … a warm and consistently entertaining portrait of a hapless but loving mother. You’ll find yourself wishing you could have met her in person’ Daily Express
    • ‘Wry and warm: I went from gripped to moved and tearful and I’d now like to read a hundred more books by this gifted, vivid storyteller’ Marian Keyes
    • ‘Flies off the page like uncorked champagne, with characters written so winningly that I feel I am in the room with them. Magnetic, enchanting and true: it’s utterly irresistible’  Joanna Lumley
    • ‘It’s a story of how a mothers passes onto her daughter the greatest gift of all – a passion for life! Like everyone who reads it I wish I had met Audrey just once!’ John Bishop
    • ‘Never dull, regularly embarrassing, often poignant, and beautifully observed.  A go-getting, polished jewel of a book’ Keggie Carew, author Dadland
    • ‘Everyone has a mother but not everyone’s mother is like Audrey.  I found myself completely immersed in the incredibly vivid world of this memoir and was sad to leave it behind’ Kate Atkinson
    • ‘… Aspinall elevates her familial memories from the personal into something more: a kind of social history, taking in grey, postwar Britain, Technicolor America, the Swinging Sixties and seedy Seventies. A documentary-maker, she injects the book with a cinematic quality’ The Times
    • ‘Just when you thought your family was offbeat, here comes Fabulous Audrey. A portrait of dauntless spirit, this is what happens when your skeletons stay out of the closet and take you dancing’ DBC Pierre, author of Breakfast with the Borgias