The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

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Pub Date 28 Jun 2018 | Archive Date 28 Jun 2018

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Flowers, fire and fairy tales are the elements that will forever shape nine-year-old Alice Hart's life, in The Lost Flower's of Alice Hart, the international bestseller by Holly Ringland.

Alice Hart lives in isolation by the sea, where her mother’s enchanting flowers and their hidden messages shelter her from the dark moods of her father. When tragedy changes her life irrevocably, nine-year-old Alice goes to live with the grandmother she never knew existed, on a native flower farm that gives refuge to women who, like Alice, are lost or broken. In the Victorian tradition, every flower has a meaning and, as she settles into her new life, Alice uses this language of flowers to say the things that are too hard to speak.

As she grows older, though, family secrecy, a devastating betrayal and a man who’s not all he seems, combine to make Alice realise there are some stories that flowers alone cannot tell. If she is to have the freedom she craves, she must find the courage to possess the most powerful story she knows: her own.

Flowers, fire and fairy tales are the elements that will forever shape nine-year-old Alice Hart's life, in The Lost Flower's of Alice Hart, the international bestseller by Holly Ringland.

Alice Hart...

Advance Praise

"Rich, vibrant and alive with the messy, sometimes violent, song of human connection. Holly Ringland is a writer to watch out for" - Jenn Ashworth, author of Fell, winner of The Society of Authors 2010 Betty Trask Award

"The best fairy tales traverse the darkest corners of the human heart, and this beautiful novel is no exception. Truth and illusion, devastation and triumph, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart will spit you out whole" - Mfanwy Jones, author of Leap and 2016 Miles Franklin Literary Award finalist 

"Brave and beautiful...Alice Hart has the strength and magic of an Australian windflower in bloom" - Favel Patel, author of When the Night Comes and Past the Shallows, and 2012 Miles Franklin Award Finalist 

"Rich, vibrant and alive with the messy, sometimes violent, song of human connection. Holly Ringland is a writer to watch out for" - Jenn Ashworth, author of Fell, winner of The Society of Authors...

Available Editions

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ISBN 9781509859849
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 17 members

Featured Reviews

I really loved this book and was gripped from the first few pages. Alice dreams of freedom but the only way to achieve the freedom she desires is to face herself and her story. Heartbreaking, heartwarming, raw and honest. A wonderful debut novel.

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I've yearned for a book like this for a while, especially since the last month had few books that made me feel like this did. I am not saying I did not read good books last month, just that they were not really for me. An hour into Alice's story and I was tearing up. I shed a tear for the child that Alice was, with her vivid imagination and poetic thoughts, I shed another for when her home situation becomes unstable enough to cause a major change in her life. Things then are supposed to settle down, pain is supposed to ease but human nature being what it is further hurdles come her way. 

Alice Hart is not safe in her home, its something she does not know at the age of nine or even before that. She does know to be careful. She feels peace with the flowers her mother grew and sees her mother a whole other ethereal being amongst them. One day, a thought and a fire later Alice's known world has collapsed.She now moves into a home, where flowers are revered and hold special secrets, a few of them her mother did not have a chance to tell her about before. That is the first phase of the book. Then there is another as she's older but not any wiser about her past. This is the story of her journey and of the hearts that she connects with on the way(Their story is given equal importance). I am not saying I liked all of the book, but the parts I did overshadowed the others to reduce it to almost non-existence. The writing has a depth which has refreshed my mind for whatever I read next. It has given me new respect for flowers.

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A superb debut novel from Holly Ringland.......Alice Hart, the central character lives in Australia in isolation with her Mothers flowers and the messages hidden within them to guide her through life after going to live on a flower farm with a Grandmother she didn’t know existed and a variety of colourful women who each were to play a major part in Alice’s life as she faces a shocking secret, a betrayal and meets a man who may not be all he seems to be.

I loved this story from the first page, Alice herself, her friends and foes, and the weaving in of the Australian wildflowers which I found even more fascinating as I have visited numerous times myself and was in fact why this book first attracted me.

The story pulls you in and doesn’t let go until the very last petal falls......highly recommended for all ages. Thanks to the Net Galley and the publisher Pan MacMillan for giving me the opportunity to review this book. #NetGalley #TheLostFlowersOfAliceHart #hollyringland

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A beautiful read. Alice Hart lives with her parents, isolated in their farmhouse, fearing her father's violence on a daily basis. Following tragedy, she moves to live with June, her grandmother, on the Thornfield flower farm with the other Flowers - all girls with difficult histories.- where she learns the art of floriography - the language of flowers. Alice's relationship with her grandmother is often difficult and she moves on to a national park for a new start. Dysfunctional relationships continue to shape Alice's life and she strives to understand her own story using the language of flowers. As the pieces slot together, can Alice restart her story for good? A beautiful, emotional read, framed at every step with striking, evocative descriptions of Australia's flora. Highly recommended.

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Alice spends her days hiding from her father, and helping her bruised, fragile mother tend to the garden. She’s kept away from school, family and the local village. But then one day tragedy strikes and Alice’s world starts to open up. Can she put her demons aside, or is she destined to repeat her parents’ mistakes? A perfect summer read, although you may find it a struggle to tear yourself away.

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Set in Eastern Australia, this story is about Alice, a 9 year old girl who finds herself moving to live with her grandmother following a family tragedy. Alice has never before met her grandmother, yet there is something familiar about her face. June (Grandma) owns Thornfield, a farm that grows native Australian flowers and plants, and she takes in and employs women called 'Flowers', each with her own sad story.

Each chapter of this book begins with the description of a flower or plant, including its physical appearance, where it can be found and what that specimen 'means' according to the Thornfield Dictionary, a book of stories and knowledge written by the women of the family and passed down through the generations. As Alice grows older she tries to get her Grandmother to open up and tell her about her family. Alice knows there are many deep secrets but June thinks she is protecting Alice by keeping her in the dark, preferring to use the language of the flowers she grows instead of speaking the actual words that Alice desperately needs to hear. But eventually, despite all the lies and half truths, the secrets find a way through the flowers.

I loved this book. At times it reminded me a tiny bit of Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen and Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic, probably due to the story being mainly focused on the women (though there are a few chaps too, and dogs!), and with plants and flowers being more than than just for decoration. Having said that, there is no actual 'magic' in this book, though there is a little talk of curses and folklore and fairy tales.

A beautifully written, heartbreaking story that will stay with me for a long time.

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