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The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding – Holly Ringland

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding – Holly Ringland

I finished reading this, it was lovely. Esther can be annoying, but I suspect that is a trauma response and besides an annoying character doesn’t mean the writing is poor. It was well researched, I want to visit the Faroe Islands.

This novel is about female relationships; sisters, mothers and daughters and friends. It’s about bodily autonomy, and marking your body with tattoos and myth and fairy tales.

A review

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The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding – Holly Ringland

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding – Holly Ringland

I have been reading this book, isn’t the cover beautiful?

It’s a lovely story about women; the relationships between mother and daughter, sisters and friends. And about, finding yourself and owning your truth. There’s lots of talk of fairy tales, tattoos, stars, shells, the sea and plants. It’s rich and beautiful like the cover.

I haven’t finished it yet (almost I am up to the seventh skin), but I think it’s going to be one of my favourite books of the year. Esther, the character, is a bit annoying, but there are reasons for that.

Here’s the blurb …

From international bestselling author of The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart, Holly Ringland, comes a haunting and magical novel about joy, grief, courage, and transformation.

‘On the afternoon that Esther Wilding drove homeward along the coast, a year after her sister had walked into the sea and disappeared, the light was painfully golden.’

The last time Esther Wilding’s beloved older sister Aura was seen, she was walking along the shore towards the sea. In the wake of Aura’s disappearance, Esther’s family struggles to live with their loss. To seek the truth about her sister’s death, Esther reluctantly travels from lutruwita, Tasmania to Copenhagen, and then to the Faroe Islands, following the trail of the stories Aura left behind: seven fairy tales about selkies, swans and women, alongside cryptic verses Aura wrote and had secretly tattooed on her body.

The Seven Skins of Esther Wilding is a sweeping, deeply beautiful and profoundly moving novel about the far-reaches of sisterly love, the power of wearing your heart on your skin, and the ways life can transform when we find the courage to feel the fullness of both grief and joy.

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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart – Holly Ringland

The cover of this book is so beautiful and I kept seeing it everywhere, so I had to buy it.

I particularly enjoyed all of the Australian flora references – Ms Ringland made the harsh outback almost seem inviting.

Here is the blurb …

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 seaside home. She is taken in by her estranged grandmother, June, a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. But Alice also learns that there are secrets within secrets about her past. Under the watchful eye of June and The Flowers, women who run the farm, Alice grows up. But an unexpected betrayal sends her reeling, and she flees to the dramatically beautiful central Australian desert. Alice thinks she has found solace, until she falls in love with Dylan, a charismatic and ultimately dangerous man.

The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart is a story about stories: those we inherit, those we select to define us, and those we decide to hide. It is a novel about the secrets we keep and how they haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive. Spanning twenty years, set between the lush sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Alice must go on a journey to discover that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own.

I had a run of reading about domestic violence and this came at the end and I must admit I was over it by then, so the timing was wrong for me and I haven’t recommended this novel to anyone. I really enjoyed the parts about the flowers: growing them, harvesting them and the secret meaning of the flowers. Ms Ringland creates a fabulous sense of place; by the ocean, by the river, by the crater and her female characters are amazing – the men not so much, but I think that might be the point.

More reviews …




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