Hope Farm was published by Scribe on 9th June 2016. My thanks to them and Sophie Leeds for my review copy and inviting me on the blog tour.
'They were inescapable, the tensions of the adult world - the fraught and febrile aura that surrounded Ishtar and those in her orbit, that whined and creaked like a wire pulled too tight.'
It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver's mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start. At Hope, Silver finds unexpected friendship and, at last, a place to call home. But it is also here that, at just thirteen, she is thrust into an unrelenting adult world - and the walls begin to come tumbling down, with deadly consequences.
Hope Farm is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.
Hope Farm is a book that sucked me in from the very first line, with the myriad of characters and a kaleidoscope of emotions and beautiful prose. The extremely well created characters and their strengths and weaknesses left me wanting to know more and it left me thinking. There are some wonderfully written passages about the environment that brought the story even more to life for me.
This book is so well written, I was absolutely awed by it and entranced by the characters and the lives they lived that were so very different from my own. Set in the 1980's this book mainly focuses on the lives of Ishtar and her daughter Silver and their story surrounding their lives at Hope Farm which is a commune.
Silver is telling her story after life at the commune and that is interspersed with older diary entries from Ishtar. Silver is a brilliant character and narrates this story so well but there is more depth and dimension added when we come across the entries from Ishtar. There is a sadness and a melancholy about this book throughout that created a tension that made me even more engrossed. It would be easy to like one character more than another but I don't think I did, it is a matter of circumstance and the past and future that make them what they are.
This book is glorious and one of those that is an absolute joy to discover. An original look at Mother and Daughter relationships, friendships, about control and manipulation. It is about growing up, and identity and belonging and about Hope and wanting something a bit different for yourself. It would make an excellent book group choice and is one that would garner much discussion I am sure.
Absolutely recommend this one, it is stunning, clever, well conceived and written with a maturity of the human psyche that left me in awe. In fact I more than recommend it, I urge you to read it and then tell me what you thought so that we can discuss it.
About the Author:
PEGGY FREW’s debut novel, House of Sticks, won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her story ‘Home Visit’ won The Age short story competition. She has been published in New Australian Stories 2, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue, and Meanjin. Peggy is also a member of the critically acclaimed and award-winning Melbourne band Art of Fighting.
Hope Farm was nominated and made the Shortlist of the 2016 Stella Prize and has been Shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
Please do have a look at the other stops on the tour...