My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time Taken To Read - 2.5 days
Blurb From Goodreads
In the Sixties, Athene Forster is the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she is also beautiful, spoilt and out of control. When she agrees to marry dashing young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme her parents breathe a sigh of relief. But within two years rumours have begun to circulate about Athene's affair with a young salesman. Thirty five years on, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her glamorous mother's legacy. At odds with her father and his second wife, struggling in a stalled marriage, she returns to the place of her birth to find that the ghost of her mother, in differing ways, still haunts them all. The only place she finds comfort is in her shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee shop-cum-curio store, decorated in her own image, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina. But the spectre of Athene and the shop itself combine to set in place a chain of tragic events, forcing Suzanna to confront the feelings she has disguised for so long - and her family, in their varying ways, finally to deal with the events of the past. And Suzanna discovers the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.
The story splits in time, we visit the past to get some of the background story then come to the present with Suzanna and the build up of her character and story which eventually all links together. Suzanna is the main character but this didn't become apparent until later on in the story. Whilst I did enjoy this story I found the first bit slow going and it wasn't until I got through a chunk of it and the picture pulled together that I really started to enjoy it.
Suzanna is unhappy, her life has been turned upside down and in a bid to get her to come to his way of thinking her husband helps her set up a shop which becomes The Peacock Emporium. It brings together a small town and helps Suzanna learn who she is and find love, friendship and to enjoy others company.
I disliked Suzanna to start with but once you understand more about her family life and watch how her character grows, you tend to warm towards her. There are a few unexpected surprises and shocks and we visit the past again near the end where my questions I had been left with were all answered ( I was worried I was going to be left hanging). The second half of the book comes together really well and I loved how it all came together. I really like this authors way of writing so will continue reading through her books as I do enjoy them. Slow to start but worth keeping with, 4/5 for me.