Author(s): Holly Ringland
An enchanting and captivating novel, about how our untold stories haunt us - and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.
After her family suffers a tragedy, nine-year-old Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic seaside home. She is taken in by her 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.
Under the watchful eye of June and the women who run the farm, Alice settles, but grows up increasingly frustrated by how little she knows of her family's story. In her early twenties, Alice's life is thrown into upheaval again when she suffers devastating betrayal and loss. Desperate to outrun grief, Alice flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. In this otherworldly landscape Alice thinks she has found solace, until she meets a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.
Spanning two decades, set between sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart follows Alice's unforgettable journey, as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.
~ 'In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year-old Alice Hart dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.'
A cracker of an opening line, which caught my attention. I read on and discovered that rather than wishing for death, young Alice imagines the phoenix rising again from the ashes, changed or renewed. She wishes the same for her abusive father, whose moods change like the weather. Alice finds solace in her love of stories and the language of Australian native flowers which her mother teaches her. A tragic event propels Alice across the country to stay with a grandmother she didn't know existed. She grows up there on a flower farm where a group of women with dark pasts find refuge. When Alice is a young woman, she is hurt deeply by a choice her grandmother makes and she escapes into the Australian desert, where she loses herself in the wilderness and repeats her mother's behavioural patterns in love. Despite dealing with some gritty issues, this book was enchanting in its writing and was a beautiful package, with each chapter entitled the name of a flower and its meaning, with an illustration. Jemma
Longlisted Dublin Literary Award - 2020
Winner - ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year - 2019
Shortlisted ABIA Awards General Fiction Book of the Year 2019