TITLE: The lost flowers of Alice Hart
AUTHOR: Holly Ringland
RATING: 3 stars
TRIGGER WARNING: Animal, and spousal abuse.
WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS: harpercollinsNZ sent me a copy in exchange for an honest review
The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.
After her family suffers a tragedy when she is nine years old, Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.
The lost flowers of Alice Hart is an adult contemporary novel that deals with love and loss. Alice Hart our main character comes from an abusive household, but learns to talk in the language of flowers. But history is a fickle thing and it tries its best to repeat itself.
The writing in this was beautifully simple, not something you focused on how ever as the plot itself was what grabbed your attention. The plot of a young abused woman trying to find her own voice and heart, is a strong and poignant one.
It was hard to see Alice go down the same road as her mother, but it’s something most people try not to think about happening, when it really does happen quite often to abuse victims. The ending however, made me smile as life began to turn around for Alice, things weren’t completely fixed, but they were enough that she knew she was strong enough to keep going.
This book is filled with things that hurt, so if you’re uncomfortable with animal or physical abuse to women from their partners, then please don’t pick this one up as its full of such things. However this is ALSO filled with women overcoming their abusive pasts and it’s beautiful in that sense.
Overall I think this is a brave novel that tackles some really sensitive topics really well and leaves you changed by the time you finish it.
Until next time,