The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope

Written by Rhonda Riley
Review by Hanne Pearce

Evelyn Roe is a teenage girl working on her family farm in North Carolina towards the end of the Second World War. She finds an injured man in the fields and presumes him to be an injured soldier. He soon proves to be something else. Healing quickly, the stranger begins to exhibit odd characteristics and talents. While drawn to him, Evelyn is terrified when he begins to change in appearance to resemble her and then changes yet again to become Adam.

Despite his strangeness, Evelyn marries Adam, and they build a life together and start a family. All the while, Evelyn worries that Adam’s abnormalities will become apparent to other people in their community. Her worst fears are realized when a sudden death and Adam’s grief cause others to witness his abilities, which results in him being feared and ostracized. Realizing they cannot stay in North Carolina, the couple moves their family to Florida. While joyfully watching their daughters grow, Evelyn must live with the anxieties of Adam’s secret, fearing how her daughters may be affected and also by her own aging, a process that Adam apparently cannot share with her.

This book is written in an easy, fluid style that is both clear and moving. Adam and Evelyn’s unusual life together is juxtaposed against familiar scenes of average American life in the 20th century, which is well portrayed and heartening. Credit is due the author for the novel’s imaginative concept, although it is somewhat disappointing that a further explanation of what Adam is remains unexplored. This adds to the haunting tension in the story, but a more concrete resolution would be more satisfying. This book will appeal to people who enjoy historical fantasy and romance.