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The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  2,175 ratings  ·  517 reviews
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is an unconventional and passionately romantic love story that is as breathtaking and wondrous as The Time Traveler's Wife and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.

During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. She rescues him,...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published April 23rd 2013 by Ecco (first published January 1st 2013)
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The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda RileyIs This Tomorrow by Caroline LeavittThe Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan EvisonThe Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp SendkerEx-Heroes by Peter Clines
Booktopia Bellingham 2013
1st out of 10 books — 16 voters
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
Favorite Magical Realism Novels
217th out of 671 books — 3,445 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Vikki VanSickle
This premise may catch a lot of people off guard. A young woman pulls a shapeless, disfigured humanoid mass out of the mud and as the creature heals, it starts to resemble her in every way. They fall in love, and the creature (now a woman named Addie) decides to morph into a male so the two of them can marry, have children, and be together without the judgment of their conservative North Carolina mill town.

Although it sounds like science fiction, this is more of a love story than anything else....more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: An easy four stars of five.

Still not giving Goodreads monetizable data. The culture shift still ticks me off, and its tacit abetment by management makes me feel like a salable commodity not a member.

So my review is, as always, on my blog.
2.5 stars The enchanted life of Adam Hope has a beautiful cover and a very interesting premise which makes you want to read this book quickly but for me it seemed to take forever and that is not a great sign.

Evelyn is a young Southern Carolina farm girl who after heavy rains rescues a body from the mud and while the body looks human it is only after time that it takes on a human's features and appearance and suddenly takes on the same image as Evelyn herself and then later becomes a man and h...more
This book is outside the scope of what I would normally read. It was a stretch for me and one I think in the end I'm glad I made. I liked it, but I didn't love it. The story is different and at first I didn't know what to make of it. I wasn't that thrilled in the beginning and I thought maybe I ventured to far from my normal and it was time to abandon ship. After a certain point, I surprisingly couldn't put it down. I had to know how this odd love story played out. It was well written, though at...more
Lolly LKH
The writing is lovely, yes. I am, however, frustrated as well with the lack of closure and with the failure of the author to explain what Adam/Addie is. I realize the point she is making is we may not ever fully understand someone but it won't change how much we love them. But as a book that began with a character coming to life from the ground a reader may feel, as I did, disappointed that the only explanation we get is that Adam/Addie 'just was'. Just was what? It is hard to believe that after...more
Sara Strand
To be frank, I don't know where to start on this book. I was originally supposed to post my review last week but I could not because I had to re-read some passages and this book was emotional. Not because it's sad or anything (though some parts are), but because it really challenges a lot about love. Evelyn finds a young man seemingly half buried in her back yard but soon after bringing him inside of the farm she has inherited, she quickly realizes he isn't quite ordinary. His face and entire bo...more
I loved this book in so many ways. This is Riley's first novel, and it's obvious that she knows her way around the language, without the need to show off. This passage on grief has stayed with me for days:

"Grief is a powerful river in flood. It cannot be argued or reasoned or wrestled down to an insignificant trickle. You must let it take you where it is going. When it pulls you under, all you can do is keep your eyes open for rocks and fallen trees, try not to panic, and stay faceup so you will...more
I read this book because of the Books on the Nightstand podcast and the author will be at Booktopia Bellingham. I normally would not have read this book just because it doesn't seem like my cup of tea. I started this book not knowing much about it. This book is weird. WEIRD. And there is a lot of talk about genitals. However, I loved this book. I tore through this 420 page book in a couple days. There isn't a lot of plot but the book is well written and draws you in. It's almost a fable. It's et...more
Beth Anne
this book was really really breathtaking. what an imagination this author has. i mean, the story of adam hope is so interesting and unique and inventive. narrated by the woman who found him, adam's wife, evelyn, it's quite sad at times, extremely thought provoking, and really beautifully written.

i like the fact that though this story revolves around someone so unique and different and special…the true nature of the book is about relationships. it's really a story of unconditional love and love...more
At times the author seemed to bristle my reading sensibilities by "trying to hard' and spoon feeding some rather obvious "deep" connections she wanted you to make. In that regard, every now and then her writing seemed primary and junior high~ish. She really wanted to be Sidhartha at times, and it just did not come across well.

Other than that, the characters were very likable, and developed. I found myself very fond of the family and extended family. The setting was actually my favorite part, th...more
I don't even know where to start with this book if I'm being honest. I read this book pretty quickly and I enjoyed the writing so much. This book is like nothing that I have read before. It has been compared to The Time Traveler's Wife and while I can see some similarities I don't think that this is a fair comparison. This book is not about time travel but it does have some strange elements to it. This is the story of Evelyn and Adam and their life together. It is essentially a love story and sp...more
Wesley Paine
A totally unexpected book. Beautiful, unobtrusive writing, with profound things to say about the joy of life in all the taken-for-granted beauties around us, how we are who we are, love, grief, hope, and the connections and stories that bind us together. I picked it up on a whim and am grateful that it jumped off the library shelf and into my hand.
I LOVED this book. Everything about it -- the characters, the settings, the mystery, the scope of their lives, the love story, the writing. It was beautiful. I'm going to miss reading it now that I've finished.
Amy S. Foster
I really wanted to enjoy this book. It seemed, on the surface, to have everything that I generally enjoy in a novel. It is set post war. There is a female protagonist and there is a magical element.
The plot is intriguing. A young woman finds a "being" in the mud. The being is so mottled and scarred, she assumes at first that he must be a veteran. When the being's skin and body change- into a direct copy of her own, she realizes that whatever she pulled out of the ground is not quite human. I th...more
This was semi miss for me. It was just a bit too odd for my taste, which I know sounds strange coming from me - I read odd stuff all the time. It is a strangely compelling read, I will give it that. I didn't love it but I didn't want to stop reading.

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope has aspects of magical realism, something I'm always a bit iffy on anyway. Some of the most popular titles in that vein are books that I've not particularly enjoyed, while others, like Sarah Addison Allen, I can eat li...more
I had mixed feelings about this book. I really enjoyed the premise, and I thought that as a love story, it was beautiful. Even though I was very curious, it didn't really bother me that Adam's strange qualities and origin were never explained - real life is not so perfect to have all the answers for strange circumstances such as his. Adam/Addie was incredibly fascinating and lovely to read about, and is the reason I give this book four stars.

My major issue with the novel was Evelyn, which is un...more
This book is full of sex! Whew! It's not raunchy but it is a bit of an obsession for the lead couple which began to feel bland and a little one-sided to me (not to mention a bit unrealistic). It's not offensive though and I do like sex myself, it's just only one piece of committed love which I felt got too much time in the spotlight here.
Other things that bugged me included little errors in the research she did. For instance, at one point the characters go through the pantry and open the home...more
This was one of the Booktopia Bellingham books that I didn't get to before the event, but Rhonda Riley's presentation at the Saturday night author session and book signing really intrigued me, so I bought the book and got it signed that night. This was a well-told story, beautifully written. At times, Riley's prose just sings (maybe in imitation of her main character). The plot got bogged down a bit when the action of the story hit the late 1960s and early 1970s (some editing here would have hel...more

3.5 stars

This was a strange book and while I enjoyed it, I did not find it all to be plausible. I tend to like "magical realism", but some authors are able to pull if off better than others. Riley wrote a lovely story here, but her way of bringing Addie into the world seemed too crazy to me. And then to have Addie morph so drastically into Adam seemed even more absurd. Other than these strange occurrences, I mostly enjoyed the book. The book is really about Evelyn and her way of livi...more
Andrea (Cozy Up With A Good Read)
This review and others can be found on Cozy Up With A Good Read

So this book, wow, I will try to keep my gushing down but I just absolutely loved every part of this book. This book is about the relationship between Adam and Evelyn, and even though this is compared to The Time Traveler's Wife there is no time travel but there is a unique gift that makes this book interesting, and I believe that it is the love story that connects these two books. This is a story about a love that knows no boundarie...more
Michele Harrod
Oh my goodness. Where do I start with this book? I guess I can only tell you that I cried and cried through the last harrowing pages of what I will sum up as this "insanely beautiful" story. One that about midway, I was thinking - this is really such a 'simple' story, I wonder what the fuss is about? And I mean simple, because it was implying something extraordinary, but all within such very ordinary lives.

The beauty of the dialogue often grabbed me by the throat. And then suddenly I knew. It w...more
First, I have to give Rhonda Riley high praise for coming up with such an unusual and fantastical premise and grounding it so beautifully in ordinary life.

Evelyn literally pulls a naked stranger from the mud during a torrential rainstorm one night, only discovering later that this 'person' is not human. However "A" soon becomes her closest friend - and eventually her lover - a relationship divides her from her family and small town neighbors even as she outwardly seems no different.

Their lives...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
When seventeen-year-old Evelyn Roe digs an unformed, featureless human right out of the red clay of her family's farm in North Carolina during a torrential winter rainstorm, she had little idea just how much her narrow existence, or her ideas of life, would change. Rhonda Riley's story of Evelyn's life, her great love for this Other being the existence of which she cannot explain but which will confront all her traditional, accepted ideas - and those of her small-town community in the aftermath...more
This is taken directly from the publisher's description: During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, the two of them fall deeply in love. Rhonda Riley reveals the exhilarating, terrifying mystery inherent in all relationships: No matter how deeply we love someone, and no matter how much we will sacrifice...more
Overwhelmingly Beautiful!
I could not put this book down, I read long into the night, and grabbed it early upon rising. I downloaded a sample of this book for free, and took quite some time before I actually read it. Once I started reading the sample, I couldn't stop, when I got to the end of the sample I was devastated. I had to have the whole thing.
Beautifully written in such a poetic manner that speaks to the heart on so many levels, emotions and feelings we have ourselves sometimes, but feel...more
This novel was a roller coaster for me. I loved it, then I hated it. This went on and on. As soon as a finished it, I decided that I really did like this book although it was incredibly strange at times. For the most part, I could not bring myself to put it down.

What I love most about this story is the magical realism that it has, following the main character Evelyn from youth to old age. However, I do feel a bit cheated that there really wasn't satisfying closure about the title character. I h...more
This book reminded me of the movie Starman which I saw many years ago when it first came out and I loved it. It's definitely a love story and left me with many questions. I enjoyed the book but was not satisfied with the end. It still deserves more than three stars.
Karin Gorham
I am really too much of a how and why person to have enjoyed this book. It is beautifully written, but I couldn't get past the lack of explanation as to how Addie/Adam arrived in Evelyn's field to truly enjoy the book.
Wow! What a story. An interesting historical fantasy which combines a small town farming life with the supernatural. It's a romance with a twist.
"Hope ever urges on, and tells us to-morrow will be better.

Setting:Clarion, North Carolina and Micaopy, Florida; 1944-2000

Coverly Love?:No; though I do admit that it looks as strange as the book itself.

Plot:In the small little town of Clarion, North Carolina, nothing special ever happens. It's one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone and everything is absolutely ordinary. Until one stormy summer day, when Evelyn Roe finds a badly burned man on her family's farm. Grotesquely ugly,...more
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I'm a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Florida. When I was an undergraduate I published several poems and some essays in small literary journals. The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is my first novel.
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“I tried to turn my heart to the living, to the place I was, but putting seed in land not owned by me or my family seemed alien. The sandy, gray-white soil looked like dirty beach sand, not fit for growing anything. It smelled like dust. Yet weeds and trees and wildflowers grew along the roads. When we drove into town, we passed dense, impenetrable woods and fields of corn, peas, and peppers. Such new combinations of seemingly poor soil and happy flora puzzled me. Everywhere I went, I picked up the dirt, examining it for clues. Bringing anything out of such soil would require a whole new language on my part. I imagined there must be something richer and darker under the gray sand, or some trick the farmers all knew. Trick or no trick, what I had always been able to do well now seemed inaccessible. Still, I searched the yard around our house for the best spot to plant my fall garden.” 2 likes
“Countless times, I have imagined A. rising through the rivers of this land, to the surface of Florida to be found again, pulled into the air by new hands. The possibilities are endless, but most often I imagine him found by children. Above him, the sky shimmers and undulates blue through transparent springwater. Then four small brown hands break the surface and pull him into the air and into their excited and frightened vocabularies. The delicate bones of their arms and ribs absorb his voice, shattering their knowledge of what is possible.” 0 likes
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