The Other Half of Augusta Hope

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Member Reviews

It's hard to believe this is a debut novel. It's a well written, heartwarming book and a little bit quirky. I think it's worth reading and forming your own opinion on it. I have since seen several reviews comparing it to Eleanor Oliphant, I didn't feel this myself, but that's my opinion.
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This is a beautifully written book in which I quickly became very invested. I  did become a little impatient part way through thinking it was obvious how this was going to play out but then came the tragedies and I felt a little guilty  (that's how invested I was!)

The Other Half of Augusta Hope has a dual narrative shared between Augusta and Parfait which works very well. I might be a bit slow or have been tired when I began reading but I was a few chapters in before I realised Parfait is male.

One has to suspend one's belief somewhat but overall it works really well and I look forward to Joanna Glen's next book.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers.
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Narrated in retrospect by the titular character, this is a poignant look at belonging and alienation. Agusta Hope has always felt like an outsider in her family (which cut a little close to the bone for me personally). She is loved but they find it hard to understand her – she’s always seeking to know and understand more, lacking her twin’s acceptance of life. The other plot strand sees Parfait desperate to leave behind the war and the grief it had wreaked on him. The two threads twine together skilfully and the result is a well drawn observation character led story with a very satisfying ending.
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I listened to the Audible version of The Other Half Of Augusta Hope which was narrated by the wonderful voices of Stephanie Racine and Jude Owusu.

I always choose my audible books that have a character led story rather than a gripping thriller as I love to savour the story and get to know the characters over a period of weeks rather than an afternoon frantically page turning.

Augusta Hope is the most wonderful, observational, honest character that I fell for almost immediately. She narrates her story with an innocence and honesty that is both refreshing and emotional.

The story begins with Augusta looking back at her life, growing up in a small town in England with her twin sister Julia and her staid and uptight parents. She is different to her perfect twin, questioning everything and looking to escape her Suburban childhood as soon as she can.

This is a really slow burner but the narrators bring the story to life. It was absolutely mesmerising, beautiful in parts, heartbreaking in others.

I completely recommend the audible version of this story and can’t wait to see what the authors writes next.
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Augusta Hope feels like a misfit in her family- the difficult one, always questioning and seeking to extend her knowledge. Her family love her but clearly find it hard to understand her- even her twin, Julia is discombobulated by her on many occasions.
Parfait in Burundi is desperate to leave behind the war and grief that  his existence there has been whittled down to. 
This story skilfully brings these separate strands together and had me hooked. I liked both protagonists immensely and felt that they were true to themselves throughout. Both suffer tragedy, but then build a life back. The ending is not unexpected, but the journey to it was well worth while. 

Well recommended. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC to review
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Augusta and Julia Hope are twins - but far from identical. Julia is pretty, girly, obedient, and everything her parents want in a daughter. Augusta is ... well ... none of these things.  She questions everything, loves words, spends time reading the dictionary, befriends the disabled boy next door when no one else will speak to him, reads poetry though not the 'tasteful' sort that her parents like but troublesome, unsettling stuff. The two girls are still inseparable; two halves of a whole.  
Augusta's passion for learning new words leads her to an atlas in which she discovers Burundi - a marvelous place she believes, from the sound of its name. But in Burundi itself, Parfait Nduwimana knows how far from marvelous the country is. His family has suffered horrendously during the war which ripped the country apart - his parents are dead, his sisters missing - but Parfait refuses to give up. He fervently believes that the best course of action is to leave, and make a new life elsewhere, so he and his younger brother Zion set off on a journey across Africa in the hope of reaching Spain.

This is the story of a girl dismissed by her parents as 'odd'. I didn't find her so myself but her parents are set in their ways and 'narrow' in outlook. Augusta is a misfit - too precocious, too outspoken, too clever for them - and from an early age seems to be instinctively searching for somewhere she'll be accepted. Things start a little slowly, but Augusta and her unfolding story grew on me, and although the ending is predictable, the route to it isn't, and the story-telling drew me on.

Who though is Augusta's other half? Her sister - so different in appearance and temperament - or Parfait - with a past more horrific than Augusta can imagine, but like her searching for a place to call home. Read it, and decide for yourself.
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This is a gentle book about growing up and beyond. A definite feeling of melancholy. We follow the story of Augusta and her twin sister, Julia along with their very ordinary parents. I really enjoyed the relationship and the difficulties in that relationship of the 2 sisters. I also particularly enjoyed when Augusta appeared to break free from her mundane life at university.

I found the Parfait sections difficult to follow at first as he just seemed to appear from nowhere and somehow they seemed almost like a dream but after a while they appeared to make sense.
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I wasn't too sure what to expect when starting this book, but I have to say it was much better than I was anticipating, the blurb does not do it justice!  Although admittedly I can't think how else I would write it.  The book explores the life of Augusta, her twin Julia, and the life Augusta wants for herself, for her sister, for the future.  A parallel story tells of the life of Parfait, in Burundi, and whilst not clear from the beginning, these stories eventually merge.  The book is beautifully written, emotional, and addresses tragedy with humour which never feels displaced.  Highly recommend.
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At first I wasn’t too sure about this book and what the 2 stories had in common but it all became clear and I quite enjoyed it in the end
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The story took a little while to get going. Don't give up, it is worth sticking to it until it really gets its claws into you. Once you get caught up in the story it is an excellent read and I really enjoyed the journey.
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What an amazing debut novel. This book is fiery and filled with so much content. 
The author manages to interweave humour along with sadness and grief. 
This is a beautifully written book which is emotionally challenging. 
A highly recommended book
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Although I  enjoyed the book, I found it a little bit predictable, I could see the plot unfolding almost before it did! Co-incidences almost spelt out for us. Don't want to spoil the ending but quite a few unanswered questions. I would say a good holiday read but didn't grip me.
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In this terrific book we meet Augusta Hope, a curious child who is more at home reading the dictionary than making friends. She is also a twin. Julia is the perfect daughter and her parent's favourite. She doesn't recite poetry about drowning or ask awkward questions in front of the neighbours. She also doesn't have a favourite country. Augusta does and it is Burundi. And this is where the book gets really interesting because in alternating chapters we get Augusta's story and the story of Parfait, a young man from Burundi trying to escape the country for a better life. 

I'll admit I didn't enjoy this in the beginning. I found Augusta to be a bit of an annoying child, but as in life, as she gets older I appreciated her character a lot more. She's unique, doesn't fit in, but doesn't feel the need to change and why should she! She's her own person and knows what she wants. 

The story really picked up for me about 30/40 % of the way through. The Hope family go on holiday to Spain when the girls are teenagers and the rest of the book hinges on what happens there. Every action has a consequence.

So many unexpected things happen and are connected in this book. I fell in love with it and cared about all the characters. A very clever and accomplished book.
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I enjoyed this novel, but definitely not one of my favourites of 2019.
I found it quite slow going, and never felt I really connected with any of the characters.
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A beautiful book that will stay with me for a long time. The impact of one small decision on your life is explored here in a way I've never encountered before. I laughed, I cried, and the characters are still fresh in my mind many weeks after reading. A bestseller for sure.
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This book was a total surprise and such a beautifully written book. The parallels in the lives of the characters and where one small decision can lead you to cross paths with someone you did not know would be the love of your life. I laughed and cried in equal measure and I would love to read how Augusta found her new life ten years on! I shall be highly recommending this to my friends.
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I absolutely loved this book although at times I was reading it through tears as it was so moving.
Joanna Glen's writing is so clever and so pared down it can tell you everything you need to know in one sentence. There's no waffle, it's  just beautifully crafted, conveying huge tidal waves of emotion in a few words.
I loved the way Augusta and Parfait's lives were slowly but inevitably moving closer and closer and although I was eager for this to happen I also savoured every word getting to that point.
It's a book about loss and grief but don't let that put you off because it's also about survival, coping and doing what you need to do to be happy.
Amazing debut.
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The Other Half of Augusta Hope is an enchanting read. The descriptive language is beautiful, both in relation to the personalities of the characters and also the various locations. The colours and sounds of England, Spain and Burundi were expertly brought to life. 

The story is passionate and emotional; sometimes sad and in the end uplifting. I thoroughly recommend it.
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I really didn’t enjoy this book at all. It has taken me days to read it. The only reason I didn’t give up on the book was because it was an ARC and I agreed to write a review. Which I couldn’t do if I gave up on it. Secondly I kept hoping that the book would improve, unfortunately that didn’t happen for me.

Augusta Hope is the youngest twin and born the day after her sister Julia. Augusta always feels as though she is the odd one out in her family.

She surrounds herself with words, and by the age of six she starts to memorise the dictionary. She seems to get something from the words that she just doesn’t get from her family. She also seems to end up alienating her family with her smart mouth and big words. Which her mother and father seem to look down on.

One day she is looking at a globe of the world and she comes across Burundi. She likes the way Burundi sounds when she says it, and from that day on she is obsessed with anything she can find out about the country. So much so that she drives her sister Julia mad with all of the facts.

Once Augusta starts high school she also becomes obsessed with learning Spanish and Latin. When she and her sister are 14 the family goes on a holiday to Spain, where they stay at the holiday home of one of their neighbours.

Something happens on the last day of their holiday but Augusta can’t get any information out of her family. As she wasn’t with them when they went out for a early morning breakfast on the beach she decided she wanted to stay in the villa. Augusta always knew something had happened as her sister Julia was changed forever.

When tragedy strikes their family years later, things come to ahead and Augusta finally finds out what had been troubling her sister since the family holiday in Spain.

Augusta ends up going back to Spain as she can no longer stand to live at home with her parents, after all of the tragedies. This is where she meet Parfait and finally her life seems to make sense, and for the first time she feels at home and happy.

Parfait is from Burundi and all he has ever know is the cruel world he has grown up in. Burundi is constantly at war and he sees most of his family murdered or brutally attacked. He become friends this their local priest at the missionary who was originally from Spain. The priest tells Parfait about his country and teaches him to speak Spanish.

When Parfait is a bit older he and his younger brother walk all the way from Burundi to Morocco. When they get to Morocco they meet up with another missionary who will help they get to Spain, but Parfait and his brother are sure that the missionary wants them to go back to Burundi, so in the middle of the night they sneak out and steal a boat. But tragedy strikes Parfait’s life again, which he hopes he will be able to slowly rebuild in Spain.

The majority of this book is about Augusta and Parfait’s childhood up until they both meet up in Spain as adults.

Unfortunately I can only give this book one star, as it just wasn’t for me and I didn’t enjoy it.
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Another book that I'd call a holiday read. It intertwines two very different lives cleverly and visually - suburban England, rural Spain and a migrant's journey across Africa to Spain - were wonderfully written and with each chapter I felt I was absolutely in each location.

The relationship plots were a little more formulaic and easy to work out but that didn't detract too much from the deeper messages in the writing.
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