The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley – 421 pages
During WWII, teenager Evelyn Roe is sent to manage the family farm in rural North Carolina, where she finds what she takes to be a badly burned soldier on their property. She rescues him, and it quickly becomes clear he is not a man…and not one of us. The rescued body recovers at an unnatural speed, and just as fast, Evelyn and Adam fall deeply in love. In The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope, Rhonda Riley reveals the exhilarating, terrifying mystery inherent in all relationships: No matter how deeply we love someone, and no matter how much we will sacrifice for them, we can only know them so well.
My Review: 5 stars
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is a unique and perplexing love story that will tear at your heartstrings. Fully realized and completely believable, the author has graced us with beautiful writing that makes the most maddening concept become utterly authentic. Fans of The Golem and The Jinni and Perla will want to read this book.
So much of this book worked because of the writing. In the hands of someone else, I’m not sure the execution would be the same. For example, the challenges of farming life in rural North Carolina were described with great detail and had me feeling abundantly grateful for what they do. It is not only for their welfare that farming matters but also that almost every food I eat is due to the work of a farmer. The rigor of it is extreme and the fact that a young girl was running the farm was on its own a daunting task.
Add to that the secret of “Adam” and not being able to share it with a soul had to be overwhelmingly difficult. It was not lost on me that his name was Adam, as in the first man, and that our protagonist’s name was Evelyn. I adored their relationship, their brood of girls, their music, their appreciation of land and the fine-tuned vibrations of their growing old.
I’ll say no more about this novel without spoiling it. I highly suggest reading this without looking at many reviews because it’s much better to just go in with an open mind.
Quotes I liked:
Farmers are a the mercy of nature’s whims.”
-“It’s funny when people lie. They know they’re lying and they think they’re getting away with it. But they’re like a naked man trying to straighten his tie.”
-“Even these words I write now, my vocabulary, are not only mine. They are an agreement, a social contract between the two of us.”
-“Racism is the laziest of hatred. The quickest, most peripheral glance is all it takes to categorize.”
-“Secrecy might seem to be the ultimate privacy, but in truth it is the antithesis of privacy. A social solitude. Secrets are only necessary when others are present.”
-“She could smell intention her children. She did not need the sin itself to start sniffing around like an old hound dog.”