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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  10,908 ratings  ·  1,450 reviews
The most enchanting debut novel of 2018, this is an irresistible, deeply moving and romantic story of a young girl, daughter of an abusive father, who has to learn the hard way that she can break the patterns of the past, live on her own terms and find her own strength.

After her family suffers a tragedy when she is nine years old, Alice Hart is forced to leave her idyllic
Paperback, 400 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia (first published March 2018)
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Jean This book is nothing like The Language Of Flowers. The story is totally different. The location of The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart is Australia, the f…moreThis book is nothing like The Language Of Flowers. The story is totally different. The location of The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart is Australia, the flowers were all Australian Native plants and trees, beautifully described and very relevant to the story. Where as The Language Of Flowers is in the USA. It was not a very inspiring book, I concidered it a waste of reading time. I have actually forgotten the story. Only know that if it had been the same I would have stopped reading The Lost Flowers of Alice Heart. I have written a review and recommended it, but then I love flowers and am familiar with Australian plants. Even so the story keeps you interested, I found it hard to put down. I googled flowers I was unfamiliar with...very interesting. It was a well researched book Well worth a read.😊(less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  10,908 ratings  ·  1,450 reviews

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May 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I should have realised this was not the book for me when I saw reviews remarking on the similarities between it and The Language of Flowers. It seems flowers do not speak to me and sadly nor did The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.

I found the book to be over long and very disjointed. New characters were still being added with back stories in the final third of the book which I found annoying. The main character was way, way over the top. I lost count of how many times she vomited or fainted as a reac
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a rare beauty. It is one of those novels that quietly sneaks up on you and unleashes its power. I have a feeling that The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is destined to remain by my side for some time yet. It is a fierce and assured piece of writing that makes a solid commentary on family dynamics, domestic drama and self discovery. It is a mighty feat for a new writer, but Holly Ringland demonstrates she is a force to be reckone
“Most of the time he spent inside followed the awful things he did. But when he came out, he was always better. Alice had decided his shed held a transformational kind of magic, as if within its walls was an enchanted mirror, or a spinning wheel.
. . .
She’d read about alchemy in her library books; she knew the tale of Rumpelstiltskin. Her father’s shed was where he spun straw into gold.”

Stunning cover and an unbeatable opening sentence, which has been widely quoted (but that won’t stop me fr
The days when her father wasn’t home were the best of all for young Alice Hart. She and her mother would tend the garden together, finding a calm and peace that was never around when he was there. Alice adored her mother and was terrified of her father. But at nine years of age, a tragedy meant Alice had to live with her grandmother – a woman she had never met – on a flower farm a long way from the seaside that was the only home Alice had known.

Gradually Alice came to love the flowers and their
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: australian, book-club
This was a book club pick and I must admit, I knew going in that it wasn’t my kind of book. But I was determined to give it a chance, because isn’t that what book clubs are for?

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is like Practical Magic with flowers instead of witchcraft. Several generations of women in one family line, a big old house, a fairy tale vibe, romance, abusive men. The writing was also reminiscent of Alice Hoffman’s dreamy style – clearly Holly Ringland is strongly influenced by Hoffman’
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When tragedy strikes nine year old Alice Hart is given no choice but to leave her only home she knows by the seaside and go and live with her estranged grandmother, June who was a flower farmer.

Listening to her grandmother, Alice begins to learn and appreciates all the different types of flowers that her grandmother grows on her farm. Alice discovers a whole new language. Her grandmother also takes in women who have been mistreated and need a safe place to stay, hoping that she can help heal the
Hard to review a book too long after reading, so this is just a tiny thought. This was an audio read, one that I enjoyed not quite as much as The language of flowers. The flower theme is a lovely one, and they seem to be a redeeming feature in this story of abuse and loss. I loved the imagery and the character of Alice who was a beautiful, strong and courageous soul. I don't take notes on audio reads and must review closer to reading time. A worthy four star book. Oh, and of course, it goes with ...more
This book not only has the most gorgeous cover but also a beautiful story of loss, love and redemption. At nine, Alice Hart is a little girl battered and bruised by her controlling, violent father, kept isolated from the world and home schooled. Her only joy is escaping into the world of books and working in the garden with her mother. When a tragedy strikes and Alice loses her parents she is sent to live on a flower farm with the grandmother she never knew she had. There she discovers not only ...more
2.5 Stars

Although the writing quality was impressive for a debut novel, the story itself didn’t grab me. Ringland certainly established, in vivid detail, a strong sense of person and place, but unfortunately for me I simply wasn’t into the story being told.

I guess my problem lies in the fact that I just didn’t feel anything for any of the characters. Their personal situations relating to their past traumas and their ongoing individual emotional battles were meant to elicit an emotional response
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is Holly Ringland's debut novel. It's been marketed quite heavily in Australia, there was a lot of excitement about it, so I had to read it to see if the hype was deserved.

It's a beautifully crafted book, with not only a gorgeous cover but also each chapter has the drawing of an Australian native flower and a bit of information about it. It was very well done, so kudos to the book designers.

This was a coming of age story. Alice Hart's father is a violent, volatile
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
From the spellbinding cover to the very last page, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this debut novel by Holly Ringland.

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.

It's difficult to think of a more dramatic opening line, but this is how we meet our protagonist, Alice. She's a child living an isolated life by the sea with her gentle mother, who talks to the flowers in her garden, and a violent,
Theresa Smith
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Guilt, grief, and the toxic effect of harbouring family secrets play out in this enchanting and heartfelt novel by debut Australian author, Holly Ringland. The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story that orbits around wildflowers. The book itself is utterly gorgeous, from the cover through to the artwork detailed throughout. The chapters are each named for a specific wildflower/bush/grass that directly relates to the themes contained within. The meaning is given for each, along with a short descr ...more
Dale Harcombe
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Four and a half stars.
Alice Hart has spent the first years of her life in an isolated place set between the sugar cane fields and the sea. Alice does not attend school in town but has lessons at home. She has only her parents and her dog for company. Her mother takes refuge from the anger and violence of the home situation in her flower garden. Both Alice and her mother live in tension and fear waiting for the next explosion of anger to erupt. When she is nine, Alice’s life takes a drastic turn
I had high hopes at the beginning of this book, being drawn in by the voice of 8-year-old Alice Hart, describing her horrific life under the roof of her abusive father. And I really liked the concept of plot, with the family secrets and how history repeats itself, but unfortunately I’m not on the same page as everyone else - the writing really let me down. The reoccurring themes of fire, and the language of flower just overpowered everything good about this novel; it was repetitive, spoke to me ...more
Anita Roberts
Aug 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
I always read the author’s acknowledgements when I finish a book and it makes me feel guilty for giving a bad review. Every published book represents incredible effort and emotional investment from the author and others who have supported its publication. I appreciate and respect those efforts but sometimes there is not much in the actual book that I appreciate. In this book I actively disliked so many aspects that I hardly know where to start, but to summarise:
- There was so much long winded ba
Danielle {halfdesertedstreets}
This was such an enchanting story from the beginning. I loved the voice and the setting, which created an almost magical realism style. The writing was exquisite, the child’s viewpoint poetic and lovely, even when dealing with horrors. I felt that the final third lost that magic, perhaps purposely so in echo of the main character’s own challenges. It felt to me, however, as though the style changed and the story lost its way somewhat. Still a great read, just not quite as rapturous as I’d first ...more
Rose Puddy
Mar 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If I could give this book 6 stars it still wouldn't be enough. A remarkably assured debut novel.

Spanning two decades, set between sugarcane fields by the sea, Thornfeld a native Australian flower farm and a celestial crater in the central desert, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart follows Alice’s unforgettable journey, as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

Beautifully written, heartwarming and moving.

You want a book to capture you from the very first line, and
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
3.5 STARS - Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to House of Anansi Press for providing me with a complimentary copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

When I first began this debut novel by Australian author Holly Ringland, its eye-catching cover and its engaging beginning impressed me immediately. Filled with family tragedy and a young heroine readers could get behind, I quickly understood why this book was such a hit in Australia.

Throughout the book there are beautiful sketches of flow
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘Each flower is a secret language.’

From the opening sentence, this novel held my attention:

‘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.’

It didn’t take me long to appreciate why Alice might want to set her father on fire: Clem Hart is an abusive, violent man who controls Alice and her mother Agnes. When tragedy strikes the Hart family, Alice is sent to live with her paternal grandmother: Ju
Gloria Arthur
Jul 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-bookshelf
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart
⭐️4.5 Stars ⭐️

You could easily be drawn by the beautifully illustrated cover of this book. The story doesn’t disappoint and is told in a most imaginative way.

Alice Hart the daughter of an abusive father is introduced to books at two years old and by the time she starts home schooling at five she is reading by herself. At six years old Alice helps her mother Agnes in the garden, Agnes is her happiest amongst her plants and flowers. Alice would dream of ways to set he
Jan 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am very lucky to work in the publishing industry so was able to read this book in proof form last year. It is such a special book with the most beautiful writing and characters that you fall in love with, who linger in your thoughts long after you put the book down.

At times I was challenged by the lead character's choices she made, as you care so much about her (and that is what makes it so special ) and you want the best for them, but that is what makes this novel so real - we all make mistak
Bree T
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning book this is.

And I mean that in two ways. The first is visually – it has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve seen in a long time. Those gorgeous Australian native flowers look amazing on that black. Some of my favourites are there too and it just makes you want to pick it up and touch it. And then when you start reading it’s even better.

Alice is a young girl at the beginning of the book, living with her mother and father in an isolated coastal house. Her mother finds solace in
Karen ⊰✿
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Alice is only 9 years old, living with her parents on a small coastal town in Australia. She and her mother have to try and learn her father's moods, but it doesn't seem to work too well as her pregnant mother is covered in bruises and she has a few herself. She dreams of a different life, and receives it in the most tragic way - losing both her parents and moving to Thornfield.
Thornfield is a flower farm where her paternal Grandmother, that she has never met, lives. The farm is managed by women
Kate Forsyth
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An astonishingly assured debut, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story of love, loss, betrayal and the redemptive power of storytelling. It is both heart-breaking and life-affirming.

A coming-of-age story with a vividly evocative Australian setting, this novel follows the story of Alice Hart who must learn to escape the shadows of an abusive father in order to build a life for herself.

At the age of nine, Alice suffers the tragic loss of her mother and baby brother. She is taken from her seas
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5/5 stars, rounded down because I just gave Raymond Carver and Willy Vlautin three stars and three stars means "good", while 2 stars mean "okay" - and I would not say that this is, overall, a good book.

I was preparing to love this book because I'd heard a glowing review by someone I trust. The beginning started out very promising. I was not a big fan of the flowery (no pun intended) language and the sweetly dream-like style was at time off-putting, but it gave a nice contrast to the harsh sto
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This potent story is testament to the incredible writing talent of Holly Ringland. Emotional is an understatement - I cried for the first 100 pages at least. So beautifully written, you can't help but get caught up in the heart wrenching tale of Alice Hart. A gripping tale of the very best kind, reading this book is a magical experience.

Raw and honest, Ringland is not afraid to push her reader to their limits. You think it has to get better for Alice, but you know that their is more to come. And
Wow this book blew me away, it was full of heart, love, pain, loss, betrayal and hope. As each chapter of Alice's life is played out the setting changes with it. As a child by the ocean in an abusive family life, to growing up surrounded by the language of flowers and the women who support her, then to running away to find freedom and learn who she is in Australia's central desert, this story travels full circle. Can you run from your past, how much does it influence who we turn out to be, can y ...more
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a bittersweet and enchanting coming-of age story exploring a young woman’s ability to overcome childhood trauma and the legacy of forbidden love and loss passed on from generations of women before her.

Alice Hart has been growing up with a volatile, often violent father and her quiet, shy mother on a remote coastal property in a tropical region of NE Australia. Forbidden to venture into town or go to school, her only friends are her dog Toby and the fictional cha
Pip Buchmann
Jan 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful and rich story. Have absolutely fallen in love with this book. It’s a must read!!
Cass Moriarty
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Holly Ringland’s debut novel, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart (HarperCollins 2018) is a complex and many-layered narrative in which the reader can sense the gravitas of the research underpinning the story. The author’s depiction of place – of landscape, environment, weather, flora and fauna – is incredibly detailed, particularly her descriptions of flowers, which herald the beginning of each chapter, and thread their way throughout the story. Her lived experience in Indigenous communities is also ...more
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HOLLY RINGLAND grew up in her mother's tropical garden on the east coast of Australia. When she was nine years old, her love of landscapes, cultures and stories was deepened by a two-year journey her family took in North America, living in a camper van and travelling from one national park to another.

In her early twenties, Holly worked for four years in a remote Indigenous community in Australia’s

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