“The Peacock Emporium” (Penguin), by Jojo Moyes
Suzanna Peacock’s marriage can only be described as stagnant. After financial troubles require her and her husband to move back to her hometown, she welcomes a much needed distraction by opening up a shop in the busy marketplace. It is here that Jojo Moyes sets the stage for an array of colorful characters to impact Suzanna’s life in “The Peacock Emporium.”
Athene Forster is a beautiful, rich, wild child who never met a challenge she didn’t accept or a rule she didn’t break. Known as “the last deb,” Athene takes great pleasure in toying with the emotions of her many suitors, but only one is deemed lucky enough to finally catch the eye of the illustrious Athene.
Douglas Fairley-Hulme considered himself the happiest man on the earth when Athene agreed to be his bride. But two years into their marriage, Athene leaves Douglas on a whim, ultimately sending him into a deep depression after hearing the news of her death.
Three decades later, Athene’s daughter Suzanna stares at the portrait of her mother that sits against a wall in The Peacock Emporium. It’s a constant reminder that she doesn’t fully belong to her family, even though her father and his wife love her dearly. Instead of processing through these complicated emotions, Suzanna throws herself into the shop, intently listening as her employee Jessie delights customers with her charm and wit.
Although she keeps a low profile, there is one who sees straight through Suzanna. Alejandro’s sensitive personality makes it easy for Suzanna to open up without even trying. She confides in her new friend about her need to be independent, her desire for “something” to change, and the heaviness she feels caused by her late mother’s shadow.
“The Peacock Emporium” is full of unexpected twists and turns that prompt the reader consider his or her own past. Whatever challenges you may have experienced, the details of that time do not have to dictate the present. Remember what happened, but more importantly, live in the now.
Lincee Ray, The Associated Press