About The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope:
THE ENCHANTED LIFE OF ADAM HOPE
The story of Adam Hope begins as WWII ends. Evelyn Roe finds what she thinks is a badly injured soldier on her family’s farm in rural North Carolina and literally unearths him. But she soon discovers he is a very unique stranger, not a man, and not one of us, vastly different from Evelyn, while also capable of being very much like her.
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is about being the other, about loving others, and accepting what we cannot understand. For me, the heart of this book is the moment we look at someone we love and have known for a long time—a friend, a parent, lover, spouse or child—and think “Who are you?” The question can be one of amazement and delight or a dark panic. How do we love someone we cannot understand or fully know? And what do we do when life gives us something extraordinary and unbelievable?
The Carolina red-clay dirt and the freshwater springs of north central Florida play a major role in this story. Nature is one of its central characters. There are also lots of horses, a good bit of music, some sex, several births, and one acid trip. Adam’s story is also about story-telling. We all have a story and each of our stories is exquisitely individual. But they are not living stories unless we tell them to others. Stories live only in the presence of others. Stories are born and thrive only in that space between teller and listener, between the writer and the dear reader.
I was an independent child by default. I was, by far, the youngest of three children in my family. My parents worked hard in a factory and a furniture store. They were tired and often left me to my own devices. Luckily, I took their benign neglect as trust. Trust and freedom. I roamed. The neighborhood, the street, the oak trees, the field and the small swamp near our central Florida home were my world. I was given another license to roam: a library card. My mother was a reader and I had my own card before I was able to read. She wanted me to see the world beyond the little town we lived in.
I began writing in high school. Journals were my way of saving my sanity. The act of writing clarified my world for me and gave me a safe place to think and create. When I was in college, I published a few poems and a couple of essays. But when my mother died suddenly during my senior year and left me with a family secret, I found there was one story I could not make fit into a poem, an essay or a short story—the story of my mother’s life.
Years passed and, still, I could not find a way to tell my mother’s story or deal with the secret and unanswered questions had she left me. When my brother who, in his own way was a mystery to me, died too young I realized that time is short and that I would never come to a conclusive truth about my mother and my family. So I gave myself permission to roam outside the facts of her life in order to tell a truth about her. Only then did I find her voice, the voice of Evelyn. I quit my job and spent my savings to buy the time to write. Many drafts, three jobs, and two writing groups later, I had a polished novel and the fortune to find a wonderful agent and great editor at Ecco. I now live in Gainesville, Florida with a new, good man and a cat.
Here’s what a few others have had to say about The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope:
“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 Arcadia, The Monsters of Templeton, Fates and Furies and Florida
“The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is an incredible, otherworldly love story. Both whimsical and deeply satisfying, it’s a tale about the fluidity of love, the importance of family, and the meaning of home. Rhonda Riley gives us a new way of looking at the human heart-its boundaries as well as its boundlessness. Her debut reads with the urgency of a lifelong secret finally confessed.”
— Julianna Baggott, bestselling author of The Madam, Girl Talk, Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders, and the young adult sci-fi trilogy, Pure, Fuse, and Burn.
“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.”
For more reviews and some interviews click here