I thought I was out of Jojo Moyes novels (since some of her early work wasn’t released in the US) but I found the Peacock Emporium on Amazon from a UK seller in marketplace. It’s typical “early” Moyes, a handful of narrators from both past and present with the event of past coming back to shed light on the present day.
In the 1960’s, English debutante Vivi Newton has long harbored feelings for family friend, Douglas Fairely-Hulme, and is devastated when he runs off with the scandalous Athene Forester. Our story picks back up thirty-five years later with Douglas and Athene’s daughter, Suzanna, who has been struggling to find herself in her mother’s shadow. Athene died in childbirth and Suzanna was raised, along with her younger brother and sister, by her step-mother Vivi on the Fairely-Hulme estate.
Suzanna has gone into a lot of debt following a shopping addiction, her marriage is suffering and she has always felt like an outsider in her family. She moves to the neighboring town of her family’s estate and opens a little store, the Peacock Emporium. The store attracts some colorful characters like Suzanna’s assistant, Jessie, who has a troubled home life and Alejandro, the handsome, Argentinian midwife who visits the store. After tragedy strikes the Emporium Suzanna is finally able to discover herself.
There is a subplot with Vivi and her mother in law, Rosemary, that I could have done without. The cause of Suzanna’s outsider feeling, involving Athene’s death, are pretty easy to solve on your own and the ending isn’t particularly surprising but the resolution Moyes gives to Jessie and her boyfriend was unexpected. As always, Moyes delivers a charming romance with a few twists and turns that keeps the reader intrigued.