The Other Half of Augusta Hope
Augusta Hope has never felt like she fits in.
At six, she’s memorising the dictionary. At seven, she’s correcting her teachers. At eight, she spins the globe and picks her favourite country on the sound of its name: Burundi.
And now that she’s an adult, Augusta has no interest in the goings-on of the small town where she lives with her parents and her beloved twin sister, Julia.
When an unspeakable tragedy upends everything in Augusta’s life, she’s propelled headfirst into the unknown. She’s determined to find where she belongs – but what if her true home, and heart, are half a world away?
Augusta and Julia Hope live in a small English village with their parents. Although they are twins, they could not be more different. They are chalk and cheese. Augusta is tall and troublesome, Julia is small and sweet-tempered. To their parents, Augusta is a nuisance, too opinionated and loud for one so young. But she is also inquisitive, observant and fiercely intelligent. She looks upon their suburb, its inhabitants and sees what others miss, the hypocrisy, the tension, the shades of light and dark.
Lonely and dreaming of escaping the suburb for faraway, exotic places, Augusta has always struggled to fit, to find a rhythm. One of her few passions is learning new words, collecting them like people collect stamps. Strange-sounding and with definitions that beguile her. One of her favourites is “Burundi.” A distant place in the clutches of the jungle which will come to mean more to her than she can possibly know.
Parfait dreams of only one thing: freedom. In the mist of the civil war, his family live in poverty, the threat drawing ever closer. With a single sliver of hope, Parfait must lead his family to safety.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope explores many themes, one of which being the power of sisterhood, the ties and bonds that can last forever. Augusta feels she does not belong in the small town. The people around her, including her parents, do not understand her. Her only companion and confidant is her twin Juila. And nothing can break this love, not even a tragedy which will break everything else.
This is a gorgeously evocative novel about courage, discovery and love. Augusta and Parfait’s stories enmesh in the most startling way. The author portrays her characters with warmth and wit and a curiosity and bravery that enamours the reader to them. She draws the readers’ eye to their idiosyncrasies, their differences, to what makes them special. A fabulous novel and much needed slice of escapism.
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About the Author
Joanna Glen read Spanish at the University of London, with a stint at the Faculty of Arts at Córdoba University in the south of Spain. She went on to teach Spanish and English to all ages, and, latterly, was a school principal in London. Joanna’s short fiction has appeared in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology. She lives with her husband and children on the River Thames in Battersea, returning to Andalusia whenever it gets too grey