‘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 a devastatingly beautiful story about the broken bonds of childhood, and the enduring cost of holding back the truth.’
Today is my stop on the blog tour for ‘Hope Farm’ by Peggy Frew. Thank you to Scribe publishers for personally inviting me on the tour and allowing me a copy of the book in return for my honest opinion.
Do you remember being thirteen years old? It’s like a ‘tweeny’ age really isn’t it. You’re learning how to be independent whilst still relying on your parents, not yet an adult but no longer a child. That being said, at thirteen you would still need some sort of guidance from a parent or carer, yes? I would say so. After all, your teenage years are getting you ready for adulthood. If only everything was that simple because in Silver’s case, it was nowhere near that simple. Silver’s mother wanted lust, companionship, male attention, and getting those three involved her using her own looks. Silver’s mother Ishtar, like everyone, has made mistakes in her past, however, instead of facing the problems she ran from them. To her, that is the correct way of doing things, but is that a good thing to teach your child? Apparently so. Silver watches her mother make decisions that aren’t entirely thought out properly. Decisions that would not only affect Ishtar, they would also affect Silver. Hope Farm is a story about a defenceless child trying to find her way in life along with the contrasting life of her mothers.
When I got asked to review Hope Farm, the cover of the book left me puzzled. It didn’t give me any clues as to what the story might be about, which in turn made me even more excited to read the book and find out. At first I did find the story a bit slow and I couldn’t work out where the storyline would lead to, but I am glad I persevered because there is a very clever reason why it starts the way that it does. Because Hope Farm is written in two different perspectives, it needed to be slow so that you could learn about the mother’s life and how the daughter managed to learn from it. I preferred that approach to the book because I felt that it made me more interested and intrigued the more I read. Many times throughout the book, I found myself feeling very sorry for Silver. At thirteen years old you require some sort of guidance, especially as you don’t know yourself very well let alone the outside world. But Silver didn’t get that. She was thrust into adulthood and left to find her own way, not really a great start in life is it?
Peggy Frew has an enchanted way of writing. The sort of writing that makes you think yet the words reach your soul. She has written such a powerful story that reinforces the power that your own choices in life have, not just on yourself, but on those around you. Hope Farm kept me wondering all the way through, I wanted to find out more, I wanted to see what happened, I wanted to know ‘why?’. Not only does Peggy Frew write in an enchanted way, she writes with such emotion that allows you to create your own images of the story you have just read. No two people will ever read the same story. Everyone interprets storylines in their own way, but the readers need to have a powerful storyline written incredibly well, to be able to interpret it at all. Peggy Frew has done just that. Hope Farm is a book that will leave you thinking about it, days after you have read it.