Title: The Lost Flower of Alice Hart
Author: Holly Ringland
Genre: Fiction/Contemporary/Australian fiction
First published: 2018
Edition: Paperback, published by Pan Macmillan in 2018
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.
This story quickly stole my heart. Page after page it buried itself deeper into my soul.
Alice’s story and those of her female lineage gave me a lump in my throat and a heavy feeling on my chest. Honestly, I cried several times. And yet, the setting of this story, in the uniquely Australian landscape with its distinctive flora and fauna, made me smile as it evoked so many beautiful memories of the time I spent there many years ago.
I loved the way the author used the various native Australian fowers to tell this story. The illustrations and details on every flower at the beginning of every chapter added a nice something extra.
The author has a great way of laying bare the human psyche, in all its flawed glory. I really loved Alice as a character. I felt really close to her, even if she was actually quite stand-offishly written. Her grandmother June was another character that was deeply troubled and my heart ached for her.
There was a great weight to this novel and yet I turned the pages easily, wanting to keep reading. I felt really connected to this novel for some reason. The subject matter was heavy, but I did not find the book itself bleak or depressing. Domestic abuse is a red thread throughout this book, so if that is a trigger for you, keep that in mind.
I found a new favourite.
7 out o7 stars