*I received a free ARC of this novel, with thanks to the author, The Borough Press, Harper Collins UK and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: This is a story for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong.
Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?
The Other Half of Augusta Hope is a hauntingly sad story of a lonely, misunderstood girl as she grows to adulthood and learns to face loss, accept love and live the life she has always longed for.
That said this is also not a sad story: the writing is poetic and the tone is light and often wryly humorous as Augusta shares with the reader her unique perceptions and slanted approach to life. Short, fragmented sentences, peppered with factual information and subject changes give the reader direct insight into Augusta’s dragonfly mind and it is painful to feel her emotional isolation as she struggles to connect and communicate with her loved ones. There are definitely possible comparisons here with books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or Lost For Words in both the quirky main character and the challenges she faces.
Woven between, and mirroring, Augusta’s life we also see the struggles of Parfait in Burundi, as he too longs for escape from the country of his birth but clings to the family he loves. It was pretty obvious from early on that the two separate threads would eventually converge – it was just a matter of when and how! What was more important though was the two individual journeys that led to that eventual point and how it shaped and changed the characters as they lived their different (yet sometimes similar) experiences.
Anyone who enjoys intimate tales of growing-up, love, family, loss and not-belonging will enjoy The Other Half of Augusta Hope.
Is love reciprocal, I wondered.
Is it some kind of Pavlovian reaction?
Someone decides to love you so you just love them back. Had I loved Olly Macintosh all those years simply because he loved me? And if somebody else had chosen to love me, would I have loved them instead? Was I that biddable? If so, I was a danger to myself. And isn’t it the job of mothers and fathers to love first, and to love equally, and to love better than their children? Or was I supposed to help them love me by being what they wanted me to be?
– Joanna Glen, The Other Half of Augusta Hope
You can follow Joanna Glen on Goodreads.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope is out on Amazon right now!