Created by Sarah Lambert, Prime Video’s drama series, ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart,’ follows the story of a young girl named Alice life changes when she goes to live with her grandmother, June, at a farm after the death of her parents. From June, she learns more about her parents, their history, their meeting, and why they left the farm. It also molds her personality as she embarks on a journey outside the farm as an adult and faces the challenges that her mother faced years ago.
Starring Sigourney Weaver as June, the show ripples with themes like grief, domestic violence, death, and identity, which hit close to home through the characters that feel real. Due to the realistic nature of the story and how it has been presented, you might wonder if the show is based on real events. Here’s what you need to know about it. SPOILERS AHEAD
Is The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart a True Story?
No, ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ is not based on a true story. It is based on the novel of the same name by Holly Ringland, published in 2018. While the story and its characters are fictional, Ringland drew a lot from her own experiences to craft the characters like Alice and pave the path for her tumultuous life. Ringland has described the process of writing the novel as “something close to the bone” and called the story “really close to the source and really, physically, embodied in my body.”
Due to the deeply personal nature of the story, Ringland struggled to find the “courage to open [herself]” to the story in a way that it wasn’t something at arm’s length but came from within her. She started writing like that in 2014 while grieving the death of a family member. “In the wake of the death and in the bereavement I was experiencing, it stirred up all the post-traumatic stress that I worked hard to keep at bay. Grief and trauma often do that to each other. I was so sick of constantly feeling like I couldn’t take a deep breath. Fear, like a corset, restricted my lungs and my airflow. I suppose in the clarity that life and death really give us, I just saw the fear that I’d been living in for the boring, reductive, useless thing that it was,” she said.
One of the core themes of ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ is trauma and abuse. Almost all the women in the story have met with abuse or violence in some form. For Ringland, it came out of the abuse that she’d been through in her 20s. “Up until about 12 years ago, I’ve lived a lot of my life with male-perpetrated violence and surviving the post-traumatic stress and the cycles of being in it, being out of it, being in it, being out of it. After I left what I decided would be the absolute last time that a man would be able to cause violence to me, I could not fathom how to start my life again,” she said. So when she started writing Alice’s story, she knew she had to go to that dark part of her life and find a story worth telling.
Ringland also structured Alice’s childhood around her own. She was brought up by a single mother who left an abusive marriage. Ringland’s mother taught her to read early, and they read books together. Nature was also an important part of their lives, as Ringland revealed that she grew up in her mother’s garden. “She had a pot plant garden in the house, the first house that I ever lived in after I was born. I was constantly barefoot in Mum’s garden,” she said.
With nature becoming a character in the story, Ringland (who looked towards the Brontë sisters for inspiration) made flowers the thread that ties everything together. She heavily researched the local flowers, native to Australia, and came up with the system that attaches meaning to them, as we see in the show. She also used her experience working with Indigenous communities and added Indigenous characters to expand the story’s scope and make it inclusive.
In the end, Ringland believes the story is “a reckoning of telling the truth of [her] experiences.” Through Alice’s story, the author wants the audience to see “what it’s like to have a big imagination and emotions that feel like they’re going to swallow you whole and what it’s like to live with unspoken trauma, casting this long shadow on your life, and how beautiful life can be when we ask for help, when we allow people to love us, and that we can be more than what people have done to us.” With all this in mind, we can say that while ‘The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart’ might be fictional, it is rooted in Ringland’s actual experiences and those of people around her.