The Other Half of Augusta Hope

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Member Reviews

I left this a while before reviewing as I honestly didn't know what to make of this book. From the reviews I have seen I thought I would love it and I didn't and I'm not really sure why - it's probably more about me/my tastes than the book itself.

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I received a copy of this book for my honest independent review so thank you.
This is a beautiful piece of literary fiction that I expect to win prizes. So hard to believe it's a debut book.
Augusta and her twin sister Julia are completely different in personality. Augusta is a free spirit, determined to make something of her life. However due to her highly intelligent mind,her enquiring  nature and love of words she doesn't seem to fit in. She feels very misunderstood by her parents,peer group and everyone around her really.
She starts narrating as a child and I did find her narrative annoying and hard to get used to. Therefore it did take a while for me to get into  this book and writing style in the beginning. I didn't particularly like her character due to this but it's worth persevering through. As Augusta grows into adulthood the narrative changes and flows much more freely in my opinion.
The second narrative thread is about Parfait,a refugee from Barundi whose story I felt more attached to. It shows how being yourself and fighting to stay true to your beliefs is so important
I loved how we see the journey these two very different people travel through, their growth emotionally and spiritually. The two stories entwined effortlessly which is testament to a well written plot and beautiful writing.
This isn't a fast read. I found that I really had to slow down my reading pace to appreciate and even at times understand it.
If you are a lover of literary fiction and beautiful prose this is a definitely must read for you.
4* for me due the early narrative style not being to my taste.
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I simply loved this clever and wonderful book. For me, it had a little bit of everything; from hope, love, humour and joy to loss and sadness. It was in my thoughts even after I had put it down and I didn’t want to finish it because it was so good. Joanna Glen has written this novel so beautifully and with a lovely lightness of touch which made even the most sombre parts of the book easier to digest. It’s a novel about coming together and redemption. I smiled and laughed and shed a few tears whilst reading "The Other Half of Augusta Hope" but I am so immensely pleased that I gave this novel a try.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from HarperCollins/HarperFiction via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This is, without doubt, a beautiful read.

Augusta is very much a misunderstood child; the proverbial 'fish out of water' whose parents really don't understand her. Her sister is pretty and 'normal' but even as a young child Augusta has outgrown her small town surroundings. When her family suffer a tragedy of massive proportions, her home town can no longer hold this wandering spirit and she goes in search of .. well, happiness? Satisfaction? Or just something she can no longer find where she has been raised?

Whilst I realised quite early on that this is a terrifically created novel with superb prose, it took an unusually long time for me to get into this book. It is skilfully created but to begin with the alternating chapters of someone not mentioned in the blurb threw me off and I wondered where it was heading. I don't re-read the synopsis prior to beginning to read, so it wasn't expectation; it just seemed out of place. I could tell that this was an amazing novel but I somehow never got the rewarding feeling that I know I should have. Why? No idea! I'm pretty sure that this is a book which other reviewers will rave about and I'm very happy to recommend it as I know in myself that I'm out of step here. Did I miss something? Not sure, but please don't let me put you off. I'm fairly certain that we shall hear a lot more from Joanna Glen! Four stars.

My thanks to publisher Harper Collins for my copy via NetGalley. This is, as always, my honest, unbiased and original review.
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I really enjoyed this unusual story of love, friendship, family and words. As a linguist, I completely understood Augusta's obsession with words and language. I loved her interest in the world, wanting to find out and explore, see the world beyond her boundaries. 

Augusta's story (and that of her twin sister Julia) is interwoven with that of Parfait from Burundi. For me, this added a different dimension to the story telling, and I loved seeing how the two stories developed.

I found this hard to put down, and whilst I wanted to race to the end to find out what was going to happen, I was disappointed to finish and leave Augusta and Parfait behind. 

Thank you to #NetGalley for the advance copy of #AugustaHope.
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A heartwarming tale of loss, being different and feeling like you just don’t fit in.  Twins Augusta and Julia couldn’t be more different,  Augusta is a bit odd, keeping herself to herself and not really mixing with others, she loves to learn and is eager to escape the little family unit.

The story follows the growth of the girls over many years, and we learn of the traumas that occur on the way. 

A story that follows two lives running along side each other and the connections that link them together.

An interesting and beautifully written, this is an excellent debut novel.
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A fantastic read. The Other Half of Augusta Hope tells the story of Augusta, a twin, who loves words, facts and has big ambitions to leave her town and be somebody and Parfait a refugee from war torn Burundi who ends up in Spain and working as an artist. The novel explores issues of belonging, family, grief and holding onto dreams. It’s about being brave, being yourself and the consequences of our actions. 
I really loved reading this book and easily got through it in one day as I had to know what was going to happen. Augusta as a character was incredibly likeable and I found myself rooting for her throughout the pages. Glen captured life, emotions and growing up so well in this. Will definitely be one I reread. Only downside was that it ended!

Thanks to Net Galley and publisher for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book, for me, was all kind of wonderful. Through Augusta I learned a bunch of new facts, some of which I have already used myself! I kinda see a bit of me in her and that's always a good start when you get to know a new character. 
At the ripe old age of 8, she picks her favourite country - Burundi - based solely on the sound of its name, well... it's as good a reason as any, and then proceeds to learn everything about it. She has a good, if unusual, relationship with twin sister Julia but something happens on a family holiday that drives a bit of a wedge between them. Now grown up and she is still living her life in her own inimitable way and has little interest in what is happening with the rest of her family and then tragedy strikes. 
We also hear from Parfait and his family growing up in Burundi in the midst of civil war. Desperate to escape and take his family somewhere safe, he starts to plan. But his plans don't quite go right as we soon find out.
Just how these two stories continue I'll have to leave to you to discover in the way the author intends as to do anything else would just spoil things. Needless to say, both stories are equally powerful but in very different ways. The author has definitely done a lot of research into Burundi and the goings on there and that side of things is delivered in a non-glorifying way but still managing to pack the punch required to make it feel completely real. 
As you can gather, it is a very character driven story and all characters, even those who only play a small part, are extremely well drawn, and the ones that linger a while develop nicely as the story progresses. It's also a very emotional book which pretty much tugged on my heartstrings throughout as well as delivering some really wonderful lighter, tender, moments. 
The way that the story segues between Augusta and Parfait is brilliantly done. There is a fair bit of mirroring which means that the book flowed very well rather than jumping about as the action changed person and place. Hats off to the author for a job very well done there. 
And the ending is just perfect - I'm leaving it at that!
And then I find out that it is a debut book. You could have knocked me down with a feather when I found that out! It definitely had the air of a seasoned author as I was reading it and that's no exaggeration. This leaves me very excited to see what the author has in store for her follow-up book - I'm definitely keeping an eye out for that.
My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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great book, loved the scene the way it was written. Characters were portrayed very well, kept me reading and gripped to the end of the book.
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This book was an unexpected delight.  I have to say I struggled a bit at the beginning as I found the way it was written, through Augusta's eyes quite childlike but as the story developed, along with the age of Augusta so too did the writing.  It was this writing style that allowed me to grow alongside Augusta and become emotionally involved with her story.  I loved the themes that weaved throughout the book: death, sadness, lose which were equally balanced by hope, dreams, love and belonging.  I have to confess I ended up sobbing bucketful of tears during sections of this book.  If a novel can evoke such strong emotions within then for me that is the sign of a good book and powerful author.  I look forward to reading more by Joanna Glen.

Thank you NetGalley for my copy of this eBook and introducing me to Joanna Glen.
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What a wonderful book. Joanna Glen is a very talented writer with a very literary style which is easy to read. The story is absorbing; often sad but also full of wonderful moments. I don't believe in coincidences and although some may think the book is full of them I prefer to think of it as synchronicity. Highly recommended. And with thanks to the publisher and the author for the e_ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a great book. The two people in it, Augusta and Parfait live thousands of miles from each other, both physically and in the life each has. Augusta is an unusual child with a huge fascination with words and meaning, Parfait lives I. Burundi, a bright boy with a hard life. Please read other reviews for details of their lives, and please read this book, it is haunting, funny, heartbreaking, informative and so beautifully written. I can honestly say that this book touched me more than any book I have read in a long time, I loved the characters, and was sad to leave them when the book ended.
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Thanks to NetGalley and The Publisher for this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars, rounded down

Augusta and Julia are twins born on different days and the differences between them just continue to mount up as they grow older. Augusta is awkward and feels like she doesn't fit in with the rest of her family or the small town she grows up in. But the relationship with her twin sister who accept for who she is is deeply profound and heartwarming. whilst learning all about Augusta we also learn about Parfait, a boy from Burundi - Augusta's favourite country because she like the way the word sounds. 

This is a book about self acceptance and how people deal with tragedy. I really enjoyed this but have rounded down my review as I not sure if Parfait story was given the right amount of attention and was some what trivialised in juxtaposition to that of Augusta's.
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Augusta Hope is a wonderful and fascinating character and her story is everything I hoped it would be.
Julia and Augusta are twins with different birthdays, who look nothing alike, and yet share a bond that is stronger than either of them realise. Augusta is precocious and curious about the world in general, and she absolutely loves words- so much so that she reads the dictionary for comfort and is determined to be a writer when she grows up. At the age of eight she becomes fascinated by Burundi., at first she is drawn to it by its exotic name, but as she grows older she studies its history and culture avidly.  Meanwhile in Burundi,  a young man by the name of Parfait faces hardship and horror and decides to flee to Spain with his younger brother.
Many years later, in the most unlikely of circumstances their paths are destined to cross and the story of how that comes to be and what happens next makes for very entertaining and emotional reading. 
I loved the craftsmanship of this book, the way the story comes together may not be surprising, but it is still beautifully done, and the characters of Parfait and Augusta are so well drawn that it is impossible not to root for them. The story moves between love and heartbreak and takes the reader on a very emotional journey.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher, all opinions are my own.
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This is really a unique book with 2 stories. I love reading about Augusta but not so much about Parfait. The book is so well writing and I special like the knowledge shared in this book. I am just discovering this author and her ways with words are beautiful.
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A quirky, obstinate child who is fascinated by words and likes to read the dictionary! The story had the makings of something extraordinary, but like the main character, it fell into the mundane. The white English middle-class main character is quite dull and the story dragged.  The Event described in the premise doesn't happen until 75% of the way through, and all the associated incidents have been foreshadowed, so there was no surprises.  The real gem was the second narrative.  The story of Parfait was wonderful and I wish it had been more substantial.  Recommended for a rainy day or lazy Sunday beach read.
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I struggled with this book a lot - there are parts of it that are really, really well done. Those parts pack an emotional punch and really delve into the idea that we take our most important relationships in life for granted - and, as such, it shocks us to our core to find out they may not be something we can rely on forever after all.

The book is written from two perspectives - that of Augusta and of her other half Parfait. The main issue I had was wanting to spend much, much more time on the objectively more interesting character of Parfait than you get to. He is almost an after thought, a bit part and Augusta gets 80% of the page time. 50-50 and I think this book would have been much more powerful to read on the basis that the difficulties of life as a migrant would have had to be included in the book in a much more individual way.

I did enjoy the way the book shows that you can be meant to find solace in another person, I just felt that this book did very little to handle the themes of the migrant crisis and life away from your family as it did others (grief, society's terrifying attitude to those with learning disabilities).
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The story of the parallel lives of Augusta and Parfait is fascinating and I loved every minute of it. Joanna Glen's debut is inspired. The tone is perfect, the narrative bursting with moments of melancholy and happiness. It is in turns laugh-out-loud funny and breathtakingly sad. Augusta's earlier recollections were reminiscent of my own childhood. I learned so much reading this and am starting to learn Spanish online because I was so consumed by the notion of 'duende' in the book. "The Other Half Of Augusta Hope" is pure paradisiacal. What a beautiful way to put Burundi on the map!
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I found the introduction of Pafait quite confusing although stuck with it and found it a reasonable read.although struggled a bit at the beginning when Augusta was a child.. I'm afraid I can't rave over this book but it was readable.
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Augusta Hope's mundane English life on Willow Crescent is sharply contrasted with the brutality and violence of Parfait's existence in Burundi. While Augusta grows up close to her twin, Julia, Parfait loses member after member of his family in the wartorn African country.

Both Augusta and Parfait eventually make it to Spain - Augusta after a series of family tragedies; Parfait after a 4,000 mile walk with his younger brother. While there are many lighthearted moments in this story, the main theme is loss and the guilt that comes with it. At times unbearably sad - I felt towards the end there was no let up - it is also filled with the ordinariness and awkwardness of family life. The writing is fluid and ebullient and the book is filled with wonderful new words and snippets of information - for Augusta is an inveterate reader of dictionaries and hunter-out of obscure facts.

I did feel there were one or two incidents that could have been left out - the gypsy caravan, and what happened after Augusta's liaison at Las Higueras - but this is, nevertheless, a wonderful book, full of humanity and ultimately, hope.
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