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




Genre: Fiction / Contemporary

Publishers: Pan Macmillan India

Price: Rs. 759/- (I got the book for review from the publisher)

Behind the Book

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..

About the Author

HOLLY RINGLAND grew up barefoot and wild in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. Her interest in cultures and stories was sparked by a two-year journey her family took in North America when she was nine years old, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another. In her twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in the central Australian desert. Moving to England in 2009, Holly obtained her MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester. Her essays and short fiction have been published in various anthologies and literary journals. She now lives between the UK and Australia. To any question ever asked of Holly about growing up, writing has always been the answer.

With a beautiful cover like this, I opened the book with a lot of hope and fell in love with this story slowly till there was no looking back. 

The story of Alice Hart struck a chord with me, deep within stemming from my own experience of dealing with abusive childhood, dysfunctional family and an abusive relationship. It was enthralling to grow with Alice with fairies and flowers for company and see the world in a new light. Her character was heart-warming and at the same not someone you would want to sympathize with. It was a character you adore and end up falling in love with. You have nothing but respect for her sheer strength and determination.

This book made me see flowers in a new light. Australia is like a second home to me and I have witnessed the beauty of flora and fauna there like none other. However reading this book, helped me get more close to nature and now I see them as friends. The dandelion that is dancing in the window outside my window at the moment seems more like a friend waiting to talk to me as I finish my chores. It is interesting to observe how what she grows up wanting to avoid all her life actually ends up being the only thing in her live - abuse. And yet, she doesn't give up.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, helped me heal. It showed me that the most important story in our life is that of our own which we are yet to write. We cannot let your past impact our present or future. If the past threatens to hamper your future you need to know when and how to cut it off completely for every one deserves to live a life of dignity and respect. 

This book is full of hope and is promising to the core. It reminds you that most of times what happens in your life might not be in your hand but how you left it affect you surely is in your control. We don't choose our family, but we can surely choose our future and lead a life with our head held high. I resonated with Alice in so many ways, though my only complain would be I realised the solace in the arms of nature very late. Maybe my world would have been different had I realised it earlier but better late than never as they say. Today nature is my best friend whom I look forward to meeting every evening without fail. 

I loved the slow and poignant narrative. With the story spanning across 20 years it is important for the plot to move at a pace where the reader is not left feeling confused. The author balances it out beautifully without making it too emotional or too practical. She hands us the key to a happy and peaceful life albeit in a secret manner to know which you need to read the book.  The ending of the book, left me asking for more. It was so complete in itself, way different than what I had expected and yet had its own charm. Filled me with hope and magic!

Brilliant read, strongly recommended. This book is a beautiful reminder on quality of life, both inside out. It is easily heart-breakingly beautiful a read!

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Hari Matar ke Pakode - Unusual combination but out of the world results!

Source: Archana's Kitchen