There are intricate stories woven into “The Peacock Emporium,” by Jojo Moyes, characters whose lives cross like ripples from a pebble thrown into water.
The novel opens with a sad story from a midwife detailing a forced adoption that hangs in the air and permeates the remainder of the book. Then we meet Athene, Vivi, and Douglas and see how their hopeless romances come to pass. This thread was a bit predictable, but Moyes has such a way with words and description that the predictability wasn’t unpleasant.
Occasionally it is a challenge to follow all the new characters and the timeline and often I found myself wanting to know more about certain characters than was provided in their story. Luckily, this writer has a way with words, and for those who like a twist to their novels, there are twists that won’t disappoint.
Overall, the primary character in the novel is Suzanna Peacock. She is the proprietor of the shop that is the novel’s namesake. Suzanna is obviously searching for something more and is painfully unhappy in her marriage, even though her husband walks on eggshells around her and wants only for her happiness.
Suzanna is a difficult character to like because she embodies negative characteristics that we all may occasionally see in ourselves. That may be the reason we can’t help but root for her, hoping she will find purpose and happiness in life.
Suzanna is capable of love and we see that come to fruition very gratifyingly in the end. Her shop is a wonder in the way it brings people together and gives them a place that feels like home. That is what Suzanna is searching for—a home.
“The Peacock Emporium” made me appreciates my home, my sense of belonging, and it gave rest to my own wandering spirit.