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The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, April 23, 2013
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
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“First-time novelist Riley’s exquisite language draws the reader into this improbable, beautifully rendered, somewhat biblical love story with a wildly imaginative premise that is irresistible, tender, and provocative.” (Library Journal)
“Rhonda Riley’s debut novel fuses a lyrical, tender love story with a sophisticated depiction of a supernatural sentient being… [Riley] succeeds both in getting the reader to suspend disbelief and fashioning a compelling story.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Well-written and stocked with many strong characterizations.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Folkloric elements blend with pure romance in Rhonda Riley’s startling The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, a debut novel that raises questions about how well we ever know our loved ones--and whether it even matters….Riley’s unusual meditation on the private worlds we build to shelter our partners and our children is written with earthiness and deep appreciation for the power of the land…. Both dreamily erotic and filled with the relatable minutiae of day-to-day life (Shelf Awareness)
“The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is strange and powerful, a hybrid work that’s part Alice Munro, part Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and entirely, marvelously, itself. In her debut novel, Rhonda Riley has written the most resonant and touching love story I’ve read in a very long time.” (Lauren Groff, bestselling author of The Monsters of Templeton)
“Enhanced by gorgeous depictions, THE ENCHANTED LIFE OF ADAM HOPE evokes the wonder of being alive, of loving, of finding one’s home. By the end, it feels like you have truly listened in on a life. This should be one of 2013’s most deserving hits.” (BookPage)
“The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope creates a world in which the reader will encounter the full spectrum of emotions… This stunningly beautiful and unforgettable novel, a testament to the possibilities and triumph of love, find a permanent home in the reader’s heart.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
From the Back Cover
In the waning months of World War II, young Evelyn Roe's life is transformed when she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier, all but completely buried in the heavy red-clay soil on her family's farm in North Carolina. When Evelyn rescues the stranger, it quickly becomes clear he is not a simple man. As innocent as a newborn, he recovers at an unnatural speed, and then begins to change—first into Evelyn's mirror image, and then into her complement, a man she comes to know as Adam.
Evelyn and Adam fall in love, sharing a connection that reaches to the essence of Evelyn's being. But the small town where they live is not ready to accept the likes of Adam, and his unusual origin becomes the secret at the center of their seemingly normal marriage.
Adam proves gifted with horses, and together he and Evelyn establish a horse-training business. They raise five daughters, each of whom possesses something of Adam's supernatural gifts. Then a tragic accident strikes the family, and Adam, in his grief, reveals his extraordinary character to the local community. Evelyn and Adam must flee to Florida with their daughters to avoid ostracism and prying doctors. Adrift in their new surroundings, they soon realize that the difference between Adam and other men is greater than they ever imagined.
Intensely moving and unforgettable, The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope captures the beauty of the natural world, and explores the power of abiding love and otherness in all its guises. It illuminates the magic in ordinary life and makes us believe in the extraordinary.
Top Customer Reviews
In this story, Adam is 'born' of Eve, a feminist twist to the original story. Adam's remarkable gift is his ability to affect fields of energy with his voice, both consciously and unconsciously. He does this in their love-making in an involuntary fashion, creating rippling sensations through Evelyn and the entire room. He uses his sound consciously while working with horses, taming them through his focused, gentle sounding. But this rare gift has to remain secret, and thus does not develop or grow into its mature expression. This aspect of the story intrigues me too because I feel we all have rare, unusual gifts that stay hidden due to our fear of revealing something that will cause us embarrassment or shame. When Adam's grief wrenches a horrific sound from him, though it is authentic and powerful, it completely ostracizes them from the community. (I found myself thinking of this powerful utterance when I was at a recent funeral for a young girl, longing for the raw, gut-wrending, howling grief that was carefully censured by appropriate, pleasant words...)
It is very difficult to write about the effects of sound.Read more ›
The stranger evolves over the next week into almost the twin of Evelyn. And of course she is "other". In this is my single criticism in that this device is very similar to the movie, "Starman", in whihc the visitor from another star evolves into a known man using his DNA. But that is the end of the resemblance. The plot evolves almost secondary to the characters. The other, Addie becomes lover, friend and helper. The prose is lovely. The scenes of Addie learning humanity are lucid and luminous. At one point she is puzzled by people attempting to lie which she finds transparent "like a naked man trying to straighten his tie." Obviously from the title, an enchanted Adam Hope appears, but i think the particulars might be spoilers, so I stop here.
Set in a tiny mill town after the war, the book offers lovely scenes and vignettes of rural America. In a time before media, Evelyn struggles and succeeds to keep her secret until the revelation, this journal. I found the whole novel to be an easeful experience, and I enjoyed the philosophy of acceptance to be heartening.
This is a first time book, and I think she produced a lovely novel. If I could, I would award 4.5 stars, but I enjoyed the reading enough to round up to 5.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My review contains mild spoilers. I need to talk about some things in the story, but I’ll do my best not to spoil the story for you. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Helen
Fascinating and riveting. Well written. would be a great book club choice. You will be thinking about this story long after you finish it. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Morning Glory
Just started listening to this book today, so far I like it but there's one passage that disturbed me. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I found this book very tedious. The storyline is interesting and grabs you attention at the beginning. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Carla Renee Peavy
Amazing and magical book, taking the reader from North Carolina farm to the blue springs of North Central Florida.Published 1 month ago by Sue Sinclair
I really enjoyed the first half of this story. Later, at least for me, it seemed tedious. We have Adam and "Eve"lyn, who have a mysterious and intriguing beginning, but... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Josie H
Not sure I understand the point of this book. It's a good concept that doesn't really go anywhere, in my opinion. Read morePublished 2 months ago by JanHass
This is a long book and the story held my attention throughout. Riley's imagination soars bringing us fantastic plot twists that were new to me. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carolyn Branch
It was an enjoyable read. Not a book that I would read again.Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer