Wednesday, 8 June 2016

HOPE FARM BLOG TOUR | 'Hope Farm' by Peggy Frew (****)

Hello, readers, and HAPPY SUMMER!!! Now, I am well aware that for many of you reading this post it won't be summer yet, but on Monday I finally completed my first year at the University of Manchester and I couldn't be more stoked! I have spent the last few days doing nothing but reading, watching TV and *ahem* drinking, but finally I have the time to catch up on blogging and all the AWESOME books I have been sent recently!

One of the awesome books I have been sent to review is Hope Farm by Peggy Frew, by the lovely people at Scribe Publishing, who always send me such amazing books to review! I was sent Hope Farm in exchange for an honest review :)

And today I am very excited to be reviewing Hope Farm as part of the official blog tour! So after you've read this post, make sure you read all the other posts of the tour so far, and keep an eye out in the next few days for the stuff being published this week! For my spot on the tour today, I'm going to be letting you all know what I think about Hope Farm, and why I think every single one of you should pick it up asap! One of the reasons why I love Scribe Publishing is that they publish such unique, interesting, beautifully written and curated books that immediately capture my imagination and keep me invested in the story from the very start to the moment when I close the final page. I was delighted to see that Hope Farm was no exception to this. 

Hope Farm follows the story of thirteen-year-old Silver as she has to move - yet again - with her eccentric, unpredictable and unstable mother, Ishtar. This time, however, they are moving to Hope Farm: a communal, self-sufficient farm where its residents grow their own food, bathe outside under the stars and smoke pot. Silver has to come to terms with a lot of firsts: starting a new school, meeting her mother's new boyfriend Miller (a shady character with too many secrets) and being swept into the drug-fuelled, hazy, mystical atmosphere that surrounds Hope Farm, plaguing its residents.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here:

'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 the masterful second novel from award-winning author Peggy Frew, and is a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.

Immediately from reading the very first page I fell in love with Silver's narrative and found it so interesting and complex  - I love reading from the perspectives of children and reading from Silver's point of view was so intriguing as she is innocent and naive about a lot of things however she is immersed in a world so overwhelmingly adult. I was reminded of To Kill A Mockingbird when Scout is a middle-aged woman looking back on her childhood experiences, which is exactly what Silver's narrative was. Frew's narration choices definitely rendered the story much more complex, and added beautifully to the ambiguity and general fogginess that surrounds Hope Farm.

One of my favourite aspects of the whole book was undoubtedly the language, and in particular, the descriptions of often the most everyday of things. Frew's writing was intricately beautiful, clear, and carefully crafted to explicating the world of Hope Farm. I could envision every single scene in my head and each of my senses were engaged in the story - the mark of every fantastic storyteller. I would be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about Australia, but Hope Farm helped to eliminate the most mysterious of settings.

Throughout the story there was a dark cloud hanging over Silver, and her discoveries (relayed by her juvenile memories) gave the narrative a hard edge, of someone who now knows more than she ever did as a child, at that present moment. The story was so well-layered by this aspect of the narrative, and made the book unputdownable. 

The characters were all real to me, and I felt as if I knew so much about them, even the hazy figures living at Hope Farm. I loved Ian and Jindi fiercely, and hated Miller with almost as much passion. One character I still can't get my head around is Ishtar - I felt like Silver deserved so much more than her, and she was so wrapped up with Miller that I felt she completely forgot that she even had a daughter. However, the chapters interspersed between Silver's story greatly added to my understanding of her, and they were so interestingly written and revealing. You could really hear Ishtar's voice, and I was reminded of how much she had sacrificed, how much she had been through, and how unconditionally she must love Silver.

Overall, I think it is pretty obvious that I loved Hope Farm and it is evident that Peggy Frew is a brilliantly talented writer with lots to offer contemporary adult literature. I will definitely be checking out what she writes next. If you're looking for something a little different, with a lot of heart and grit in equal measure with a fascinating protagonist then I would highly encourage you to check out Hope Farm. You won't regret it!

Also don't forget to check out the rest of the posts in the Hope Farm Blog Tour!

Check out Peggy Frew here:

Buy Hope Farm here:

Check out Scribe Publishing here:

Until next time :)

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