The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a delightful tale that follows the aftermath of the tragic deaths of Alice’s parents in a horrifying fire that consumed their seaside home. Alice is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, and it is under her care, and the care of the other Flowers that work for her that Alice gradually starts to find her voice and slowly starts on the path to heal. All the while learning about her family heritage and the language of flowers. The journey takes a sharp turn, however, when Alice comes face to face with a betrayal that leaves her reeling, and fleeing for the desert.
A beautiful and heart wrenching debut from Holly Ringland, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart had me hooked from the attention grabbing first line: “In the weatherboard house at the end of the lane, nine-year-old Alice Hart sat at her desk by the window and dreamed of ways to set her father on fire.” Captivating and enchanting, this is a tale of redemption, healing, and unraveling the stories of the past, while carving out a future for yourself.
The story told predominantly in Alice’s voice, starting as her nine year old self, and following her as she grows up into a young woman in her late twenties. Other minor characters also occasionally lend their thoughts too, but it is usually brief and it is never long before we’re once more in Alice’s shoes. And although I often find multiple points of view jarring, Holly Ringland skillfully weaved them together, and I appreciated the insights the eclectic mix of minor characters throughout offered.
I found the novel so well written, that it is difficult to believe that this is Ringland’s debut, and I can’t wait to read more of her works.
* This ebook ARC was provided by HarperCollins Publishers Australia through NetGalley for an honest review.