EXCERPT: All those versions of herself she has lived. So many different Lillians, all in this one body. If she could reach back through the years and warn the person she once was, what would she say? What would she tell that sorrowful girl standing in a London graveyard scattering earth onto the lid of her mother’s coffin? Or the young woman with grazed knees and a twisted bike lying at her feet? The woman staring down at a solitaire diamond ring, marvelling at its dazzling promise? Would she have a warning for the wife walking away into the woods carrying a crumpled bird in a cardboard box? Or wisdom for the cold-hearted woman standing in this very room watching a man thrash and convulse in front of her? Life, she thinks, is strange and mysterious. Not linear, but a jumbled mess of moments: elation, sadness, pain and excruciating boredom.
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Set in a fading family estate nestled within the Chiltern Hills, this is the story of two summers, sixty years apart, woven together to reveal one dramatic family story.
MY THOUGHTS: The synopsis of this book says nothing, yet everything. This is a moving, emotional, heart-wrenching story of the lives of two women, three generations apart. Of Lillian, who literally falls into a life of wealth and privilege; and Maggie, her grand-daughter, come back to care for her ailing grandmother after fleeing the family home some years earlier.
The past and the present circle warily about one another, sometimes overlapping, sometimes becoming entangled as Maggie is drawn into a mystery that she is not even aware of.
The Peacock Summer is beautifully written, and beautiful to read. It overflows with passion, yet is subtle. Hannah Richell has again demonstrated her wonderful ability to make the reader feel and live the emotions of her characters.
THE AUTHOR: Hannah Richell was born in Kent, England and spent her childhood years in Buckinghamshire and Canada. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 1998 she worked in book publishing and film. Hannah began to write while pregnant with her first child. The result was Secrets of the Tides, picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and shortlisted for the Australian Independent Bookseller Best Debut Fiction Award, ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year (2013) and ABIA Newcomer of the Year (2013). The novel has been translated into sixteen languages. Her follow-up novel was The Shadow Year and her third, The Peacock Summer, will be published in 2018.
Hannah has written for a number of media outlets including Harper’s Bazaar, The Independent, Fairfax Media and Australian Women’s Weekly. She is a dual citizen of the UK and Australia, though currently lives in the South West of England with her family.
DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell, published by Hachette Australia. I purchased my copy from Yellow Door Books in Yeppoon, Queensland, Australia. Yellow Door Books and Gifts is owned and operated by Home Support Association. In this business environment, staff and volunteers work alongside people with a disability who seek to develop their work skills and contribute to their community. Proceeds from this business assist in increasing the participation of people with a disability in our community.
All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2797821953?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1