The Other Half of Augusta Hope

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An emotional life-affirming book that tackles some difficult subjects sensitively and made me feel all emotions
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The sad and sometimes happy story of the quest to find the kind of life you want. Augusta is very bright and intelligent in comparison to her twin who is pretty, uncomplicated and loved by all. Although on the surface Augusta should be happy with her life she is seeking a completely different kind of existence. Slow start but stick with it as it grows in momentum.
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Julia and Augusta Hope are twins born either side of midnight. Julia is born in the final minutes of the 31st July whilst Augusta is born as the 1st of August begins. They are very different, not only in their colouring but in their personalities. Augusta is like a sponge, she devours books, questions everything, is inquisitive and intelligent and to some, is an oddity with her personality quirks and strange ways of looking at things. Julia is a home-bird and a peacemaker, almost smoothing the way for Augusta in life. Their sisterhood and friendship is the centre of Augusta’s life, but she wants more than the small town where they are being brought up whilst Julia wants to remain and build her life there.

We follow these sisters as they grow up and watch as their differences become more pronounced. Augusta is a curious child whose incessant questions and assertions annoy rather than endear. She makes friends with the severely disabled boy next door much to the horror of her parents and she cannot understand at all why kindness is a bad thing. Joanna Glen’s characterisation is stunning. Augusta and Julia are wonderfully compelling characters, but it is Augusta who is our protagonist and so it is she who we fall in love with. We understand her curiosity and feel the ties that bind her to Julia and realise that she may need to loosen them in order to create freedom for herself.

Interspersed with the tale of the Hope twins we have a secondary story of a young man names Parfait who lives in Burundi. His country is war torn and his family is decimated forcing him to flee and find a better life elsewhere. It took me a little while to connect with Parfait’s story, it seemed incongruous but slowly, slowly Joanna Glen unveils a beautiful and compelling tale of a boy who is forced to become a man and find a new home.

The tales of Parfait and Augusta run parallel creating a clever narrative which caused me to question and asses what I was reading. What starts off as a book about a socially awkward child/young woman suddenly becomes something deeper and far more meaningful. Addressing a myriad of themes such as the refugee crisis, family and grief this book is a powerful and emotional read. The writing and plotting is so good that I have to admit that I was taken by surprise by some of the events and the emotions which they elicited. It did lose pace a little for me in the middle but, the powerful and lyrical writing kept me reading.

Chock full of brilliant observations and clever characterisation this is a book to really get your teeth into. It is a poetic and heartbreaking read which I can’t quite believe is a debut novel as it has such strength and power. An accomplished book about family, home and finding your place in the world, The Other Half of Augusta Hope by Joanna Glen is a gem of a book.
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The Other Half of Augusta Hope Joanna Glen
I finished reading this in the early hours of this morning having been totally gripped since 20% in. The story started slowly introducing the parallel stories of Augusta and her family, including her twin sister and polar opposite, Julia - alternating with the story of Parfait, a boy living with his family in horrendous conditions in Burundi. 
It took me a while to figure how the stories would play, the dynamics and the ultimate connection drawing the stories together. 
There are so many words that spring to mind in describing this book: family, belonging, pain, separation, searching, trauma, empathy, strength, forgiveness, destiny.....
As this story develops you become absorbed by the unusual characters and their search for their future. It unfolds beautifully although don’t be fooled, it is difficult to read in places and emotional! Powerful messages and real strength of character and understanding of being different. 
I don’t want to give the story away but would thoroughly recommend reading this unusual and powerful story!
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An extraordinary, beautifully written book which I loved. A story about sisters, family, being different, grief and finding your place in the world. Such an emotional, thought provoking book - haunting, funny, quirky, emotional, tragic, sad but also with happy moments, uplifting and full of hope. 

I was intrigued and engaged right from the start and could not put this book down, I was engrossed as I progressed through the book. I was rooting for the main characters and really hoped for a happy ending for them. 

Absolutely beautiful, I can't recommend this book highly enough, I really loved it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book - I was hooked from the beginning by Augusta’s quirky character. I enjoyed the parallel stories of Augusta and Parfait - getting to know them gently until their paths cross and their pasts come to the fore. 

I had been aware of Burundi but not in any real sense did I know anything about the plight of its people. Parfait is determined to escape and begin a new life - an urge shared by Augusta who is escaping a family tragedy.

Both inevitably find hope and a solace in each other.

A lovely read - heartfelt, poignant and uplifting.
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Augusta and Julia are twins, born either side or midnight - one in July, one in August. Julia is loving, happy and biddable, her parents’ perfect daughter; Augusta, on the other hand, never feels she fits into the suburban world of Willow Crescent, Hedley Green.

The young Augusta is entranced by words and picks Burundi from the atlas as the country with the most beautiful name, “like the sea lapping against my mind”.

Further enquiry, though, soon reveals that life in strife-torn Burundi is far removed from the sheltered world she knows.

Far away in Africa, a boy called Parfait knows this at first hand. Parfait’s sections of the story are short but far from sweet; his world is one where terrible things happen on a daily basis. Inspired by a priest named Victor, the sensitive and talented Parfait dreams of a safer life in Spain.

The lives of Augusta and Parfait as they grow - the worlds they live in - could not be further apart and yet run strangely parallel... even converging at times.

And meanwhile Julia - Augusta’s other other half - is undergoing her own largely unexpressed traumas. 

I loved this book and its characters - powerful, hard-hitting, timely in many ways, and very moving at times. The writing style is distinctive, with short sharp sentences at times conveying a sense of the impossibility of fully expressing some events and emotions. 

The first line is arresting - “My parents didn’t seem like the sort of people who would end up killing someone.” It’s a long time before we understand what this means, and when we do, it’s devastating. Stanley and Jilly Hope - ordinary people, not monsters - the sort who believe charity begins at home (as long as it doesn’t get too close... it’s fine to fundraise for children with learning disabilities like neighbour Graham Cook, but don’t try to make friends with him, Augusta) and that it’s safest never ever to get mixed up in things that don’t concern you. There is more depth to this portrayal than you might think, though. Is there, indeed, hope?
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Great book. Fab storyline and great characters. This book really surprised me and I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I will defo be checking out more books by the author. This was such a heart warming story.
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Thanks to NetGalley and to HarperCollins UK/The Borough Press for providing me an ARC copy of this book that I freely chose to review.
This is an achingly beautiful book, one of those books that you read and don’t want to finish because… well, because you know you won’t find many, if any, quite like it. And certain experiences are there to be savoured. 
The story starts with Augusta, one of a set of twins (her sister, Julia, was born on the 31st of July, therefore her name, and she was the second born, already on the 1st of August…) living in Britain, whose parents bought the first house in their neighbourhood, and who lead extremely conventional lives (their choice of names for their daughters seems to be the most adventurous thing they’ve ever done). Augusta —who narrates the story in the first person— and Julia are very close, although they are polar opposites (they look different, their attitudes to life are different, and other than their mutual affection, and their interest in Diego, a Spanish boy who moves to the same street, they seem to have little in common). Augusta loves words, reading the dictionary offers her comfort, her favourite poem is one about a pedlar [‘The Pedlar’s Caravan’ by William Brighty Rands], she sees herself travelling the world in a colourful caravan, when given the choice, she takes up Spanish at school —I love her teacher, Mr Sánchez— and starts chasing “el duende” (a concept difficult to translate, but something aficionados to flamenco music, singing, and dancing refer to when the experience of a performance reaches beyond aesthetic pleasure and enjoyment and transcends that, as if speaking directly to the soul), and decides to study far away from home, at Durham University. Her sister, by contrast, wants to make their parents happy, loves to live in their small town, become a nursery teacher, and marries her first boyfriend (the aforementioned Diego). 
Augusta picks a country, seemingly randomly, just because she likes the sound of it, Burundi, keeps track of the events there, and she feels compelled to keep a big folder of notes on any interesting news item she comes across about Burundi (because, let’s face it, Burundi does not often make the news). Something happens during a holiday in Spain when they are teenagers, which Augusta is no party to, and the whole family, especially her sister, seem changed by the experience, but they don’t tell her anything, and that makes her feel even more of an outsider. 
At the beginning of the book, I assumed that the other half of Augusta was her sister, but I was wrong (although yes, there is some of that as well). Some parts of the novel, alternating with those narrated by Augusta, are narrated by Parfait, a boy, slightly older than Augusta, from Burundi. He has six siblings, and his life couldn’t be more different to Augusta’s, although readers will pick up similarities as well (the love for words and learning, the eagerness to travel and move away, although here easier to justify due to the circumstances his family and the whole country are going through). He also meets a wonderful Spanish character, a priest, Victor, who inspires him. As we read, we start to make connections and the magic of the book envelops us. But, don’t be mistaken. The book is magical, lyrical, beautiful, full of poetry (Augusta loves Federico García Lorca’s poems and his plays, and there are many references and points of contacts with Yerma, La casa de Bernarda Alba (The House of Bernarda Alba), and Bodas de Sangre (Blood Wedding), and there are also references to other poems, cante jondo songs, music, dance, and paintings), but terrible things happen as well to the characters, and although not described in detail (they happen “off-the-page”), they are hard and heart-wrenching. Some we are fully aware of at the time, some we only get to know in their entirety much later on. Like much of Lorca’s work, this is a book about death, grief, loss, and about topics as current as war-torn countries, migrants and refugees, race relations, Brexit, and families. But, there are wonderful and funny moments too, many touching ones (I did cry more than once reading this novel), and, well, the main character’s surname, Hope, is pretty becoming to the story as a whole.
Augusta is a fabulous character, and so are all her family, and Parfait and his, and also the friends they both meet in Spain. (Oh, and Graham Cook and his family. They are priceless). The two narrators are, in some ways, mirror images of each other, or even better, like the positive and the negative of the same image, in old-style photography. None of the characters are perfect, (well, Parfait fits his name well), but all, even the secondary ones, are complex enough, with their good and their bad things (of course, we see them through the narrators’ eyes, but the two narrators are not trying to deceive us here, and this is not a story of unreliable narrators, at least not intentionally so. They might be mistaken in their judgements or impressions, but they never try to lead the reader down the garden path). The places, especially La Higuera, the house in Andalucia and the town around it, become characters in their own right, and the writing is fluid, and gorgeous. The ending is also pretty wonderful, in case you were wondering. 
I highlighted so much of the book that it was almost impossible to choose something to give you an idea of what the writing is like, but I’ve tried. In the first one, Augusta shares an anecdote that beautifully illustrates the different approaches to life of the two sisters.
We were given tricycles, mine, yellow, and Julia’s, pink. Julia drew chalk lines on the drive and spent the day reversing into parking spaces. I rode out of the drive, turned left, curved around to number 13, at the top of the crescent, twelve o’clock, crossed the road precariously to the roundabout and drove my trike into the fishpond singing ‘We All Live in a Yellow Submarine’.
There are places —aren’t there? Places which are so full of feeling you hardly dare return to them.
‘Do you think our brains will gradually evolve to hold less and less information? And soon we’ll be Neanderthals again but with iPhones?’
‘I suppose that could be a good definition of love,’ I said. ‘Crying for another person —like their pain is yours.’
In sum, if you love quirky and wonderful characters, you want to read about Spain, Burundi, and poetry, you enjoy beautiful writing, and you don’t mind having a good cry, this is the book for you. Personally, I can’t recommend it enough. And I look forward to more novels by this author.
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When a seemingly innocent professor is found butchered in his office at Exeter University, DS Imogen Grey and DS Adrian Miles are called in to investigate. 

As more bodies are discovered it becomes clear there is a link between the victims, but with everyone being tight-lipped it proves to be a difficult race against time.

But are the people being questioned the only ones keeping secrets?

I find it disappointing that I enjoy each instalment slightly less then its predecessor. When I first picked up The Teacher back in 2016, I was hooked. The chapters were short and snappy, making it easy to read “just one more”, but somehow, I have lost that feeling of eagerness. Diamond no longer shocks me, her once funny and likeable protagonists have become a little stale with none of the rapport they once had. I found the developing relationship between Imogen and Adrian took up far too much of the book and therefore my headspace, which made it difficult to focus on the crime.

However, after all that negativity I do still really like this series, and hope Diamond can bring back the suspense and grittiness that made the first few books stand out from the crowd. I would not recommend reading this book as a standalone, start from the beginning and devour them all.
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This is a difficult book to categorise. Augusta is an interesting character, which makes it seem like it's a book written about/from an autistic perspective, but it's not. It's sort of a predestined romance with a side order of family dynamic and some truly heart breaking details.

Overall I really enjoyed this because it's so different to anything out there. And have hankies at the ready for the end!

Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC without obligation.
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The Other Half of Augusta Hope is her twin Julia - I loved this book and read it in 2 days - it's a quirky dual narrative story about a girl called Augusta who loves to read the dictionary and appears slighty odd to outsiders . At an early age she becomes obsessed with the country Burundi. The second narrative is from Parfait who lives in Burundi. They tell their stories in alternate chapters . 
This is a story about Home and what it means to both Augusta and Parfait - They both have tragedys in their lives and are both looking for somewhere to belong. 
I shed a few tears along the way reading this but loved it .
Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this lovely book
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Needless to say that I absolutely loved this book; I'd be surprised if it doesn't have a similar impact to last year's Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It's the story of Augusta Hope, a twin, who has never felt as though she fit in, and is nothing like her sister Julie. It runs parallel with the story of a young Burundian man, Parfait, whose life is dictated by the civil war that ravaged his country. It's beautifully written, and made me laugh and cry, and it was the perfect book to finish the year on!
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After the startling detail, about her parents being responsible for a death ,on the opening page it is soon obvious that Augusta Hope is a contrary character.

Julia is compliant and likes a sedate, planned life and looks forward to a similar future, the total opposite to Augusta, her twin sister, who is always who is called to be places other than were she is now.

A counterpoint to this is the story of Parfait and the sacrifices he makes for a better life.

An interesting tale but it is always obvious how it is all going to draw together.
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This is an unusual book written in an unusual style and with two enigmatic main characters.  The action moves between suburban Hertfordshire, war torn central Africa and romantic southern Spain.  The meanings of family and love are explored in different cultures.  There are many artistic references but also some wnderful, down to earth characters.  An interesting novel.
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The Other Half of Augusta Hope is the stunning debut novel from Joanna Glen.  Julia and Augusta Hope are twins; Julia born in the final hours of 31 July and Augusta in the early hours of August 1st. Their different birthdays are just the beginning of their differences, Julia is blonde, Augusta is dark, Julia is the perfect daughter who does as she is told, Augusta questions everything in life, Julia is a homebird and happy to stay in her home town, Augusta wants to move away, discover the world, as home doesn’t feel like home for her, and she feels second best.  After a tragedy, Augusta finally flees her parents home and goes looking for another home, a place where she can be herself.

Augusta is a wonderful heroin and a mascot for all those who feel a bit different and displaced.  As a child she is highly intelligent, always asking questions and reads the dictionary to feed her love of words. The complete opposite to her sister, she realises she annoys her parents who are very narrow-minded, traditional and don’t understand her, like her wanting to befriend James next door who is disabled.  As a child she decides to choose Burundi as her favourite country just because she likes the way the word sounds, and, as a parallel to Augusta’s story there is the story of Parfait from Burundi.  Parfait shares similar dreams and ideas with Augusta, he also wants a better life, dreams of finding a home elsewhere, even if it is for different reasons; civil war, rape, and murder. These two characters, from different sides of the world, with different lives, share hopes, dreams and tragedy and their stories mirror how somethings transcend nationality, race, and geogaphy.

Joanna Glen’s writing style is lyrical and poetical, she shows great understanding of the emotions and lives of her characters and is able to write about them in a beautiful way so the reader can feel and live those emotions with the characters.  The two parallel story lines are a stark contrast to each other but show that no matter where we are in the world we all share the same expectations from life, and that we all have to deal with death, love, loss and tragedy.  It is these themes that resonated with me and underpin the narrative of this book.  Yes, there are some difficult issues raised during the book, but ultimately I found this to be an uplifting read about the importance of family, love, and following your heart.

The Other Half of Augusta Hope is a stunning debut novel, full of emotion and heart and I think it will be one of those books we will be talking about for the rest of the year.  Beautifully written, with complex and endearing characters that can’t help but love and maybe a few you don’t love as much.  I found this a captivating and heartwarming read and one that will stay in my memory for a long time; a moving and remarkable read.
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This book is a delight. Entirely believable and loveable characters with such accurate depictions of family dynamics.  The chapters alternating between characters are cleverly done and heighten the anticipation that eventually these two parallel worlds will come together. Highly recommended.
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I found this book to be very unusual and not my cup of tea at all. Difficult to get into, but I warmed to the characters by mid way. 
A heart warming story.
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This book took me a little while to get into, but that might have just been me. The story is told from two perspectives, Augusta, an extremely bright girl who lives in England with her twin sister Julia and her parents, and Parfait, an artist from Burundi whose life is so awful his only dream is escape.

Initially the stories are so diametric that you're not quite sure how they're going to come together, but it was constantly playing on my mind that they were probably going to come together, so I was anticipating it, and waiting for it, and that for me was part of the problem. 

The characters are flawed, which usually I love, but the extremity of some of it was so difficult to perceive and swallow. I found myself relating to Augusta, but at the same time, struggling with her character. There were parts of the book that I found difficult to process/swallow, not anything wrong with the overarching story, but the small details that made me go "really?"

Re-reading this it might be surprising that I gave this book 4 stars. But you can't help falling for the characters, the rich descriptions, the sense of duende. I think this is a very accomplished book, but I felt it has some room to grow.
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Augusta Hope and her twin sister Julia are bought up in a small town, but they are like chalk and cheese in their personalities. “Augusta loves words like other people love sweets or ice cream” and dreams of traveling to more exotic places whereas Julia is more of a homebody falling in love and marrying a neighbour happy with her life.

I Loved that Augusta was completely unique, she reads a lot and asks lots of questions. Her favourite book is the dictionary and she soaks up general knowledge like a sponge!! People including her family think she is slightly strange and her sister is her only close friend. I could emphasis with her as I was the same as a child, a proper bookworm!!

When Augusta’s life is turned upside down by a family tragedy, she follows her dreams of travelling to find a place she can call home.  

Parfait lives with his brothers and sisters in Burundi and dreams of leaving the civil war and poverty behind. 

The 2 stories run parallel to each other and you know that their paths will cross but not how or where. 

A beautifully written book full of emotion about love, happiness and finding a place where you feel like you can belong.  I Felt from the beginning it was fate that would bring Parfait and Augusta together and I was not disappointed in the ending.

Thank you to Netgalley in exchange for a review.
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