I had no idea what I was in for when I decided to commit to Holly Ringland’s literary fiction, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.
I was worried it would be too long and too descriptive. But if I’ve learned anything from reading Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton, it’s that once you get into the rhythm and style of a literary fiction novel, you will fall in love with its poetic imagery.
Ringland presents us with a story that will lift you out of your ground hog day and into a world of language through Australian wild flowers.
You will be introduced to a nine-year old girl, Alice, who will fall down her own rabbit hole after escaping the brutality of domestic violence. Through her loss she finds herself scooped up by a long lost relative who, with the help of wild flowers, will replant her feet into solid ground and allow her to grow.
However, it is love, loss, lies, and cyclonic floods that fuel her to forge her way out of the flower fields and into the harsh desert.
A swift yet smooth transition had me feeling like I was moving on to the sequel, another chapter in Alice’s life. A whole new adventure entwined with hardships and healings.
From start to finish a journey traversing over twenty years will build and build until you are on the edge of your seat. You will cringe at the decisions made by others in the “interest” of Alice, and you will bite your lip wondering if Alice will ever find out the secrets that sit on the tip of others tongues.
Set in Australian landscapes, the desert dweller that is I, found comfort in between the pages of sugar cane fields and invisible walls of desert heat. It is poignant, lush in imagery, and blunt in its description of the punches life plants on us.
Make time for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart and have your fill of a well-written world woven in flowers, swept up in dust, and sculpted by the sea.