Tuesday, 10 April 2018

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
Published March 2018 by Harper Collins Australia
Source: the publisher
Rating: 4 stars

I've been waiting for The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland ever since she revealed the stunning floral cover featuring illustrations by Edith Rewa, and designed by Hazel Lam. The story did not disappoint.

Nine year old Alice Hart lives with her parents, Agnes and Clem, on a property by the sea. Agnes and Alice aren't allowed to leave the property, so Agnes has taught her daughter at home. Alice loves to read, and Agnes loves to garden. The garden is often a refuge from the violence Clem unleashes on his wife and daughter. Following an accident, Alice is taken in by her grandmother, Clem's mother June. June takes her to Thornfield where she runs a native Australian flower farm that has been in the family for generations. It is here Alice learns the language of flowers and where she later learns the secrets of her family.

This lyrical book captured me immediately, I found myself thinking about the story whenever I wasn't reading. There are multiple settings over the course of the story, and Alice's life, and each one felt atmospheric and vivid. Her childhood home was cold and menacing, Thornfield was more welcoming but also had an uneasy edge, the outback was a place to get lost in.

Set over decades, the story covers a lot of ground and introduces a variety of characters. The plot was heartfelt and real, and so sensitively explored - from the domestic abuse, to the disrespect of Indigenous land.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland is a stunning debut. It's a beautiful, atmospheric portrait of a family, both the good and the bad. It's also a lovely tribute to the Australian land and flora.

Thank you to Harper Collins for my review copy.

Cover illustration: Edith Rewa Barrett
Cover design: Hazel Lam

Of course I had to paint this cover. I adore floral designs and this has to be one of my favourites. I love the focus on Australian flowers and how beautiful they look against the black background.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

The Queen of Bloody Everything by Joanna Nadin

I'd only recently heard of Joanna Nadin's new novel, The Queen of Bloody Everything, when a copy showed up in mail - thank you, Pan Macmillan! I love the cover of this book and it was on my list to read and paint. This retro floral pattern perfectly suits the story, which starts in the 70s,and follows Dido and her mother Edie over the next few decades.

As the copy is an ARC, the cover designer isn't listed, but I assume it's care of the Pan Mac Art Department - I'll update this if I find out more details.

You can watch the video here or on my YouTube channel. Photos below and on Instagram.

Monday, 29 January 2018

The Seven Imperfect Rules of Elvira Carr by Frances Maynard

The cover of The Seven Rules of  Elvira Carr caught my eye immediately. I love the bold stripes, and the bright red guinea pigs.  The cover design is by Joanna Thomson of the PanMacmillan Art Department.

You can watch the video here:

Sunday, 21 January 2018

The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night by Jen Campbell

Hello and happy new year! I haven't blogged in a while, but I have some nail art to share today. In December last year I painted a bookish manicure to match the gorgeous cover of Jen Campbell's The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night. You can check out Jen's BookTube channel here.

The cover was illustrated by one of my faves, Aitch.

You can watch my bookish nail art tutorial here: