Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Audio Review: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

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.

Paperback, 400 pages
 Published March 19th, 2018 by
 HarperCollins Publishers Australia

I love reading books with Australia as the setting, I hope one day to visit this country, so for now I read about it.  Each chapter begins with a flower, it’s meaning, location and medicinal benefits which added an interesting perk and charm.

The Lost Flowers is a coming of age book for young Alice Hart, you can read from the blurb above all she goes through.  In my opinion, I think it gives too much of the story away and I'm glad I didn't read it before starting this book.  I spotted the audiobook on Audible and went that route, Louise Crawford did a great job reading this one.

With this opening sentence I was grabbed:

In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year-old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.

I wanted to love this book, I’m in the minority here with my feelings. My thoughts are rather mixed here.  The first third of the book was great, there was mystery and emotion. But things changed and seemed rushed on one hand and slow on the other. I found several central characters weren’t given enough time and others too much. I found myself confused at some of Alice’s actions confusing.

All that being said I’m still giving this book 3 stars for the great description of Australia and a story that I was curious to see how it would turn out. This is the author’s debut and will probably give her next book a read.

This book is part of my ‘2019 reading off my shelf challenge’.

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