Augusta is obsessed with the words, she loves to find new ones in the dictionary and to find the meaning behind them. Reading and writing are her passions, combined with a country which few of us know where it is on a map – Burundi.
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 never truly belonged to the place where she was born, the small town in England doesn’t feel like her home. She was truly excited when her family picked Spain as their next holiday summer’s destination, as she’s fond of the Spanish literature and everything that belongs to Lorca. One day while in Spain her twin sister (Julia) and parents went to the beach for a breakfast while she stayed in the room reading. On that morning – at the beach – something had happened, an incident that will mark their family’s life more than they can predict. When Julia is back from the beach with her mum and dad they don’t share anything with Augusta but the hidden truth will have tragic consequences.
The book is told in dual narratives – Augusta and Parfait. At the very beginning you can’t find any connection between the two stories but in the end they fit together as different parts of the puzzle.
Parfait is from a small poor country for which most of us never hear anything on the news and there even people who don’t know it even exists!. He has no choice but to leave his family and home behind and to immigrate to Spain with his younger brother – a trip for which they will pay more than they are willing to.
What connects the word obsessed Augusta and the emigrant Parfait I won’t tell because it will be a massive spoiler but the way Joanne Glen untangled both stories left me unprepared.
The Other Half of Augusta Hope is an extraordinary debut that reminds us there is “No straight road in this world, only a giant labyrinth of interesting crossroads.”