Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson

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Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson

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Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A dark and powerfully written mystery that evokes a sense of place and time with admirable skill, Mr Peacock’s Possessions is a transportive and engaging tale of dark secrets and unforgiveable crimes against the backdrop of an Island paradise.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: May 2018
Publisher: Zaffre
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781785761867

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On a remote volcanic island off the coast of New Zealand, a family of settlers struggle to make such an unforgiving place a home. When a ship appears, they feel that their wishes have been granted and their community reinvigorated – but high hopes are swiftly dashed when a vulnerable boy disappears. As both settlers and newcomers come together in the search for the child, they uncover far, far more than they were looking for – discovering dark secrets about both the island and those who inhabit it.

Lydia Syson is a fifth generation North Londoner who now (like all the best people), lives south of the River. Previously she's written a biography of a fertility guru, three novels for young adults based loosely on her family history, and has now delved into the history of her New Zealand born partner in order to tell the reader of Mr Peacock's Posessions.

Syson's eye for character is immediate - her narrative voice reaching out from the page and grabbing the reader from the off. They're drawn into a small but compelling community, one full of interesting characters and complicated relationships that only becomes more intriguing as the book goes on - the disappearance of a child serving as a sharply focused lens through which Syson carefully examines the dynamics of a community both coming together and falling apart.

The remote nature of the island that these characters call their home, is one filled with savage nature - raw and often bloody, and brought to life by the raw, textured prose that Syson employs. At times the story feels like it meanders, and I found myself slightly distracted at time from the main plot of the novel as things continued - the focus not always as tight as it could be. However, Syson brings things to a climax that's as rewarding as it is moving - and allows her to examine community, youth and family in a beautifully drawn setting.

Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I recommend The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver - another dive into a complex community with compelling, complicated characters. We also have a review of Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson.

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Buy Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Mr Peacock's Possessions by Lydia Syson at


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