BOOK CLUB: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

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Author: Holly Ringland
ISBN: 978-1-4607-5433-7
RRP: $32.99
Publisher: 4th Estate (Harper Collins)
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a hotly anticipated debut with an absolutely gorgeous cover that catches the eye and the imagination.

This is a book that has gained quite a lot of great press and I have heard some really positive reviews. It’s one that I eagerly anticipate getting to.

The childhood home of Alice Hart is isolated and idyllic, surrounded by her mother’s flowers and set between the sea and the sugar cane fields. Tragedy strikes and she is taken in by her flower farmer grandmother, who teaches her the language of Australian native flowers.

Alice settles under the watchful eyes of her grandmother June and the women who run the flower farm but is frustrated by her sketchy knowledge of her family history.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story that spans two decades and a range of different settings as Alice’s journey unfolds, teaching her the power of her own story.

I’m a little behind and to keep from holding our dedicated reviewers up I thought I would get little promo pieces up for the April books so that they can come tell you what they thought of the books, I will write my reviews later.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is published by Harper Collins and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harper Collins 10 of our Beauty and Lace Members are already reading The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and you can read what they thought in the comments below. Please be aware there may be spoilers.

10 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

  1. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland published by @HarperCollinsAustralia is sad, heart wrenching but achingly beautiful and compassionate.

    As you can guess from the title, the natural world and flowers in particular, feature strongly in this book. From the gorgeously detailed illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and on the cover, to the secret meaning and language of each flower – the wonderful healing power and joy of nature is celebrated throughout.

    And while The Lost Flowers is a story of sad family secrets, trauma and tragedy and the lasting psychological effects trauma has,
    it is foremost a story about young Alice’s journey of self discovery, healing, and ultimately understanding and hope.

    The story spans a 20 year period of Alice’s life, from the age of 9. It takes us from the sugar cane fields and beach area of her early childhood, to the colourful, perfumed refuge provided by her grandmother’s wildflower farm, and to the dusty red Australian desert, where Alice seeks escape and to find her own identity. In each of these vividly depicted locations Alice discovers more about family, friendships and love, and ultimately learns more about herself.

    The many interesting and complex characters Alice meets along the way add to the depth and richness of this book and their individual stories of heartbreak, loss and triumph over their circumstances each help Alice in her quest for strength, understanding and redemption.

    I really enjoyed this beautifully written and illustrated book and highly recommend it.

  2. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland published by @HarperCollinsAustralia is an outstanding debut novel bursting with beauty, but also sorrow and hope.

    I was eager to read this debut novel by Holly Ringland and I wasn’t disappointed.

    It is a story of terrible family secrets, the horrors and dangers of keeping those family secrets but it’s also one of hope, love and how nature influences our lives and emotions.

    The cover is beautifully illustrated and that beauty is continued through the book with delightful illustrations of flowers, and definitions of many Australian flowers. The definitions fascinated me, made me pause in my reading and imagine the flowers in my mind’s eye.

    This novel is beautifully written, the language flows and the descriptions of the Australian landscape are captivating. Mother Nature is almost a character in the story, influencing events and characters, her power and pain is a crucial part of the story and her ability to heal vital.

    It wasn’t long before I was drawn into the story and anxious for Alice and her family, hoping that life would improve for them all, they’d forgive each other in time, not continue to make terrible mistakes and like the flowers in the book bloom together. It’s a story which reminds us how important it is to communicate, to have those difficult discussions with our loved ones and that keeping secrets always has consequences. Its lessons will stay with me for a long time.

  3. Thankyou to Beauty and lace and Harper Collins Publishers for the opportunity to review The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland.

    Once I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down and enjoyed it immensely . The story covers a difficult and often not talked about social issue and the psychological effects it has on family.

    We meet Alice Hart as a nine year old, living a difficult childhood .Alice’s Mum is a lover of flowers and teaches Alice about the garden and the meaning of each flower.
    Tragedy changes Alice’s life and she goes to live with her Grandmother, her Fathers Mother, at her native Australian flower farm. Alice didn’t even know she had a grandmother. She thought she would find the answers to her questions about her family, instead she found more questions, all still unanswered. So many family secrets.
    We follow Alice’s life for 20 years.

    Healing and hope come to Alice through flowers. Flowers each have a meaning and can communicate a message. There is an interesting group of characters surrounding Alice, each with their own story. Alice is such a lovely character that all you want is the best for her.

    The book is well written. The Cover is beautifully illustrated. Each chapter is titled a flower with an illustration and the flower name meaning.
    Thoroughly recommend this book!

  4. Glorious – from the beautiful cover to the last word, this is a special book. The cover of “The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart” is exquisite, covered with beautiful, Australian wild flowers, it draws anyone who loves Australian natives right in and you are entranced. Each chapter begins with a beautifully drawn Australian Native flower, with the meaning of that flower and a short description of the plant and it’s growing habit.

    The stories within stories within stories make this book special. Often there is an overlap as we follow Alice Hart for 20 years and meet the people she loves who protect her or seek destroy her. There is nothing disjointed in this lovely book, which, although not biographical, does include a theme that is common to Alice Hart and Holly Ringland, the author.

    This is a debut novel for Holly Ringland who has written essays and short fiction. There is much that shows the worst of human behaviour but so much more that shows the beauty of the human soul. The way Alice “finds herself” and grows through her experiences, not letting anything or anyone, however awful, destroy her, makes for wonderful reading and a very beautiful book.

    I am delighted to have been fortunate enough to “discover” Holly Ringland and “The Lost Flowers Of Alice Hart” and thank Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins most sincerely for the opportunity. Thank you for the beautiful and meaningful way this book is written, Holly Ringland. PLEASE could we have a sequel – I’d love to know how Alice’s life continued and read much more of the people she loved who loved her.

  5. Heartwrenching, beautiful, cheerful, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart had me running the gauntlet of every feeling imaginable.
    Alice’s world is turned upside down when fire tears through her families life stealing her mother, abusive father and yet to be born brother sending Alice to live with her grandmother and the “Flowers”.
    The Flowers are a group of women whom live with Alice’s grandmother tending to her flower business, the number one thing all these women have is common is a tragic story.
    As Alice tries to find out more about her own mother and father, her grandmother tries to relieve her of the curse of the local river, sending Alice’s first love away and not giving her all the answers she wants/ needs.

    Alice goes to a city that sounds perfect, Agnes Bluff, a small town with the same name as her mothers, Here she discovers a dog in as much need of her as she is of it! And is offered a job in a local natural reserve. Along with Pip she starts her new life!

    Meeting Dylan she falls madly in love but like they say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and Dylan is strikingly similar to Alice’s father in that he is voilent. I actually found this part of the story a bit hard to get through. It’s full on and your heart cries for Alice to leave.

    A visit from Twig and Candy (the Flowers), Alice gets some answers after hearing of the death of her grandmother June, answers that she’s always needed.

    I loved the end of this book because I rooted for Alice the whole way through and the ending of her meeting her brother just really made this story all the more better.

    The characters are likeable and you really get pulled into there stories!

  6. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland, published by Harper Collins Publishers is a not only a beautiful, aesthetically pleasurable book but the pages in between are full of loss, joy, sorrow and redemption. I enjoyed learning about the lost art of the Victorian Tradition of flower meanings and how it was similarly applied to our Australian Wildflowers. I enjoyed every aspect of this book, the illustrations and their accompaning flower meanings, the characters and the story line although I found it quite saddening at times. Thank you Beauty and Lace Bookclub and Harper Collins Publishers for the opportunity to read this wonderful novel.

  7. I was very fortunate to receive a copy of this wonderful book from Harper Collins & Beauty and Lace book club. All I can say is WOW what a well written and powerful book. I cannot believe this was a debut novel, as the writing is so beautiful and the story quite moving. Alice Hart has grown up since she was a little girl surrounded by flowers. Flowers are the meaning of all things in Alice’s life. From her disturbing childhood which left her an orphan, she goes to live with the grandmother she never knew on her flower farm, which is also a haven for women escaping abuse in their lives. June (Alice’s grandmother) tries to shield Alice from the horrors and secrets of her childhood, and Alice finds comfort in books and their stories. She makes friends with a local boy, but that too ends in heartache. Alice flees into the desert where she discovers joy, friendship as well as darkness that finds its way into her life. The cover of this book is one of the most beautiful I have seen in a long time, and each chapter has a native flower design at the beginning and the meaning of that particular flower which just adds to the story as it progresses. An outstanding book by a new Australian author.

  8. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a beautifully written debut novel for Holly Ringland that kept me captivated until the end. It was a moving tale that followed Alice from a child to adulthood but the story spans many generations of her family their triumphs and their tragedies.

    The cover of the book is breathtaking beautiful and really stands out, my son saw it the other day and pointed it out to me in a local bookstore as it is very memorable. I wanted to read this book due to the description on the back but it was the native flowers that peaked my interest and I was not disappointed.

    The beautiful quotes and illustrations throughout this book make it special and it will be a book that will be lovingly added to my book collection. I love the tale of the flowers that are interwoven through the book and at the start of each chapter.

    It is beautifully written the words so eloquent and you feel the emotion of the story. the heartache, the terror, the love and the feeling of being lost and alone but of Alice wanting to find her way. Alice learns the secret language of the flowers and they are her voice when she has none, Her Grandmother also uses the flowers to say things that are too hard to speak.

    We follow Alice from her childhood home to then moving in with her Grandmother whom she has never met after tragedy befalls Alice’s family. It is at her Grandmother’s Native Flower farm she learns her family has history, she tries to understand their story and where she came from and who she is.

    Thank you to Harper and Collins Australia and Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read this amazing book, I look forward to following Holly Ringland’s career as I would love to keep reading her novels.

  9. This is one of my favourite books I’ve read so far in 2018. It has everything I could ever want in fiction, an Australian setting, strong supportive women, an independent strong lead and the story of her growth written in an epic fashion as well as characters who truly know themselves and their passions whether cooking or reading or their children.

    I was engrossed throughout by the strong supportive female relationships that bloomed even throughout so much pain and heartache and loved the connections the author made between the storyline and the linking to our native Australian flowers and their meanings. The abusive relationships that Alice was drawn into was also excellently captured and helps in giving us more of an understanding about how prolific these relationships are and just how difficult they can be to leave.

    The book was beautiful, from the cover to the illustrations throughout and also the author’s imagery. I couldn’t recommend highly enough and wanted to re-read it as soon as it ended and hope that this author releases another wonderful book soon. Thank you of course to Beauty & Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read.

  10. What a fabulous book. I stayed up late into the night to finish it and had tears streaming down my face in the last few chapters. Truly lovely. There are a few characters that you would love to meet in real life. Grandmother June, Twig and Candy as well as Agnes and Alice herself. My heart broke for her on numerous occasions. But the support of the flowers, the beautiful words and actions that were bestowed upon her, and the love that surrounded her, all made it OK in the end.

    The book was well written, and moved at a cracking pace. The flower description and illustration was beautiful for each chapter, and if you felt so inclined, you could magic through a little meditative colouring in.

    Thank you for the opportunity to read Harper & Collins, as well as Beauty & Lace. I’m so glad I joined this book community. You’ve got me back into reading hard copy books opposed to eBooks and I’m forever grateful.

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