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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: the…
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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart: the bestselling debut novel of 2018

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1535131,116 (3.91)3
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.… (more)
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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

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Showing 5 of 5
This one surprised me. I must admit I had judged the book by its pretty cover and uninspiring title and mentally dumped it in the “looks like a Light Between Oceans type of read.” However, I tried out the audio version and found myself sufficiently invested in the characters and the drama that I needed to renew the book twice in order to finish it (a 12 hour epic, I think).
I would even say this novel sits in the Bildungsroman genre - a term I only recently learnt...so go look it up. Domestic violence is a key theme of the book. ( )
  Mercef | Jul 3, 2020 |
“This is the story of 9yo Alice Hart through to adulthood, as she learns that the most powerful story that she will ever possess is her own; and includes a language of Australian native flowers as a way to say the things that are too hard to speak” - Holly Ringland.
• • •
This novel is equally devastating and inspiring. It is a truly beautiful read.
The book touches on many stories of male perpetuated violence and the women that survive it, as well as how hard that pattern & generational cycle can be to break.
There are beautiful tributes to the essence of outback Australia and it’s unique flora; and to the traditional owners. While the aboriginal stories mentioned are fictional, the relationship to the land and the fight to educate and earn respect for traditional values rung very true.
I have nothing but praise and admiration. .

**************************************************
I've seen a few reviews criticizing or expressing concern over the Domestic abuse and the flowers aspect, I will briefly address below- (there is what you may consider spoilers nested in these notes below)

FLOWERS
The book mentions flowers consistently throughout, there is a language of flowers influenced by the Victorian era but reinvented here in an Australian context. These flowers tie this family together, are use express ideas and feelings throughout out the books, specifically for the main character who has experience intense childhood trauma and is a selective mute. It serves to create a strong visual. I cannot comment on its likeness to another book about the language of flowers but from what I've heard its not the same.

ABUSE & TRAUMA
I've run a program in a Domestic & Family Violence Center and have training on the subjects, as well as the affects of trauma. My comments all come from me experience in this sector in Australia.
If you feel that the representation in this novel was unrealistic you may not be aware of the true extent of this issues in today's society and I do encourage you to look into it. It is a huge topic with many layers and factors.
Male perpetrated violence is the majority of domestic abuse incidents (this includes male and female victims).
There is a pattern of abuse that is made very clear in this novel with more than on character. There is also the generational cycle which is a very real thing. Statistically many children of abusive households will go on to be victims again as adults or become perpetrators themselves. Many take to substance abuse as a coping mechanism, as another character does in this book.
Manipulation is abused in most relationships - including friendships and this is not limited to DV relationships.
Trauma is different for every person. PTSD is not limited to veterans. Sometimes a person experiences a large situation and walk away 'fine' and then what you may consider to be a small issues will be the breaking point.
Childhood trauma is especially nasty and deep rooted, particularly if the child does not get counselling to deal with these issues. Trauma will be displayed in a very physical reaction when not addressed in some people.

I'm sorry to report I have worked with women who have experienced horrific things, and I was not at all surprised by the character portrayals in this book, and find them to be accurate and not at all exaggerated. I do realize for the typical person this may seem far fetched but from experience I'm saddened to say its not unbelievable in the slightest.

Sorry for the "rant" but things needed to be said. I also recommend "But He Says He Loves Me" by Dr Dina L McMillan if you are looking for a non-fictional educational tool about domestic violence and what to do about them. ( )
  readwithwine | Feb 3, 2020 |
I really enjoyed this book. Not my usual style but I'm glad I picked it up. Recommended. ( )
  freelunch | Mar 12, 2019 |
Flowers and their meanings give uniqueness and beauty to this story of a woman's journey to her true self.
There are some confronting scenes some people will find very uncomfortable to read, but they are important, the sort of story that happens daily but is rarely told.
The cast of characters is primarily female but it is far from what could be termed a 'girly' novel. A myriad of strengths and weaknesses, tied together by wordless sisterhood. Each on their own journey, but tied to one another to some degree. Men also have their own roles, each important to the story.
The conclusion is an unexpected turn, but is satisfying in its way.
I received my copy through NetGalley. My views are my own. ( )
  AngelaJMaher | Jun 16, 2018 |
The moving and exquisite tale of a young girl, Alice Hart, navigating her way to womanhood through a miasma of domestic violence and family secrets, The Lost Flowers is an impressive debut novel.
In particular, the first half of the novel is captivating. The use of the language of flowers is a clever concept to tie elements of the story together, but a couple of times it seemed a little forced.
The book is presented beautifully, and somebody (or somebodies) at the publisher deserve resounding congratulations for the cover art and the detailed illustrations of flowers inside. Simply for the pleasure of holding this book in your hands, it's very much worth reading.
The first sentence! Such an attention grabber!
There is, of course, a dissonance between the beauty of the flowers and the horror of the domestic violence, loss, damaged relationships, grief and guilt at the heart of the novel. I always cringe when reading these scenes because I know it's going to end badly - especially for the dog - more than once in Alice's life. Like many children of abusive fathers, she enters a relationship with another abuser, and that is a situation that is unresolved. Violent but gorgeous Dylan gets away not only with knocking Alice about, but also (like many bullies) with turning the tables on her by reporting her for domestic violence. I felt that, for Alice and for many domestic abuse victims, there really is no getting away from it.
Towards the end of the novel, it seems that the carefully crafted story-with-flower-language hurries on to a conclusion, and that was a little disappointing. The sudden recovery of the lost brother after the death of June (the alcoholic grandmother with the magnificent flower farm) felt a little forced - and Sally, much as I loved her and wondered what had become of her, is really too good for the tenor of the rest of the novel, in that she doesn't display human flaws (apart from stupidly having a one night stand with Alice's horrible father Clem Hart. Ugh.).
I found I could enter the mindset of most of the women in this novel, which is no mean feat. I found it more difficult to engage with the male characters, either because I am predisposed to think that there is no excuse for domestic violence, or because the author actually places the reader in the position of the abused - we don't understand, we just suffer.
All in all, an intriguing novel and one which will repay the reader with much to think about and talk about. If you are part of a reading group, definitely put this on the list for 2018!
( )
  ClareRhoden | May 1, 2018 |
Showing 5 of 5
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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.

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