BOOK CLUB: The Hope Flower

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The Hope Flower is written by bestselling author of Mallawindy and the Woody Creek, Joy Dettman.

Lori is the only daughter in the Smyth-Owen tribe of 12 children. Mavis, her mother has not been a parent to any of the children. Mavis ate and smoked herself into such bad health that she is bedridden. This has left Lori as the mum of the house. 

She grew up quickly because she had to. She was the one to cook and clean and look after the kids. Her older brothers helped as best they could. 

Lori took charge of Mavis’s bank card which gave her access to the Centrelink payments Mavis would receive for all those children.  Lori knew how to deal with feeding hungry mouths on a budget, and she managed the bills and always paid them on time. 

When they saw how much money Mavis was spending on cigarettes they decided to cut her off and put her on a diet. Although Lori lived in fear that the hateful Mavis would die and the family would be split up if child services came in and took charge. 

Lori’s battle was to try her best to keep the family together. As Mavis loses weight she becomes more mobile which brings about even more challenges. It was easier in many ways when she couldn’t leave her bedroom. Once Mavis is able to leave the house things go from bad to worse.

This is a riveting story of a family of children that love each other dearly and the things they manage to do to show that love. Love that they did not receive from their mother, who only seems good at spewing hateful and hurtful remarks and given the opportunity, physical violence.

It wasn’t until I had almost finished this book that I discovered that it is the sequel to “Henry’s Daughter” which I am now going to have to purchase. You do not have to read Henry’s Daughter first. The Hope Flower works well as a standalone book.

This book would make an excellent movie or TV mini-series.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading The Hope Flower by Joy Dettman. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

Publisher: Pan MacMillan Australia / ISBN: 9781760984106

9 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Hope Flower

  1. The Hope Flower by Joy Dettman
    15 year old Lori Smyth-Owen is the only girls in her family of 12 children!
    The kids have had to learn to fend for themselves after losing their Father and having an abusive Mother.
    This story follows the heart breaking struggle these kids go through to stay alive and to look after each other.

  2. I enjoyed this homely story and admire the way the family managed to survive under such difficult circumstances. At first I was annoyed because the author did not introduce the characters in the “usual ” manner and I couldn,t keep track of the family members. However, as the story moves along, I became fascinated and emotionally invested as the characters became alive , and it was easy to imagine the dire reality of these children caught in a dysfunctional relationship with their mother.

  3. I enjoyed reading the complicated journey of Lori and the extended Smyth-Owen family and their somewhat unconventional and difficult upbringing in The Hope Flower by Joy Dettman. I could find no such warmth though, towards their physical and mentally abusive mother, Mavis and her perceived attitude towards her children. The title “The Hope Flower” really signifies to me Lori’s role in this novel and her family as the sole female (other than her mother) and that regardless of her journey the reader hopes and imagines that there will be a better life just waiting for her at the conclusion of this novel. Thank you Beauty and Lace Bookclub, the author Joy Dettman and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read and review The Hope Flower.

  4. Thank you to the Beauty and Lace Book club for giving me the opportunity to read this book. This is the sad story of Lori Smyth-Owen who has an abusive and selfish mother who does not care for her many children who are left to fend for themselves. The story is about survival and hope for a better life, one without her mother who passes away at the end of the book. Lori and her brothers are now free to make a life for themselves and to have the happier life that they all deserve.

  5. Thank you Beauty and lace for the opportunity to review Joy Dettman’s “The Hope Flower”.

    What a heartbreaking read of the struggle of 15 year old Lori-Smyth Owen one of 12 children left to fend for themselves with an abusive Mother. It wasn’t hard as a reader to feel absolute loathing for their Mother Mavis and the treatment and power she wielded over her children. Poignant and with an intense plot, albeit little slow paced at times, I enjoyed reading this novel as I found myself emotionally invested in the characters and wanting to see them succeed.

  6. I adore this book! It’s one of courage and love, even though it stems from an horrific childhood and Mother who is just vile the children manage to still convey love for one another. I’ve given this read 5/5 stars and one I will recommend to my book loving friends! I now want to read the first book ‘Henry’s Daughter ‘ !

  7. Thanks to Beauty and Lace for my copy to read and review.

    At first I was lost as I couldn’t remember who was who in this family consisting of 12 offspring. I got further into the book and really felt like I got to know each character.
    I detested Mavis the mother, she was vile towards her kids.
    Poor Lori, fifteen and the only girl in the family, looks after everyone the best she can under horrific circumstances.
    It was well written and I really enjoyed it and am happy to know Joy Dettman has written many more books which I am now going to seek out.

  8. This book is about 12 kids struggling against the odds to survive life and stay together, with a mentally abusive and absent mother. Lori, who is the only female child, try’s her very best to keep her siblings together. She has had no inspiration from whom to learn from, but she does her best. The Hope Flower is a very fitting name for this book, because Lori always hopes for a better future. But all she really needs is to keep her family together. A great read.

  9. Courageous story about children trying to survive and live their lives without the help and guidance from parents. Such a sad tale to have to do this with a mother who didn’t care , poor Lori taking on the biggest burden being the only girl. So much love for her family got them all through life

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