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The Peacock Emporium
Cover of The Peacock Emporium
The Peacock Emporium
A Novel
An early work from the New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars and the forthcoming Someone Else's Shoes, Jojo Moyes, the story of a young woman who opens an eclectic shop and comes to terms with the secrets of her past.
In the sixties, Athene Forster was the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was also beautiful, spoiled, and out of control. When she agreed to marry the gorgeous young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme, her parents breathed a sigh of relief. But within two years, rumors had begun to circulate about Athene's affair with a young salesman.
Thirty-five years later, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her notorious mother's legacy. The only place Suzanna finds comfort is in The Peacock Emporium, the beautiful coffee bar and shop she opens that soon enchants her little town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina.
The specter of her mother still haunts Suzanna. But only by confronting both her family and her innermost self will she finally reckon with the past—and discover that the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.
An early work from the New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars and the forthcoming Someone Else's Shoes, Jojo Moyes, the story of a young woman who opens an eclectic shop and comes to terms with the secrets of her past.
In the sixties, Athene Forster was the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she was also beautiful, spoiled, and out of control. When she agreed to marry the gorgeous young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme, her parents breathed a sigh of relief. But within two years, rumors had begun to circulate about Athene's affair with a young salesman.
Thirty-five years later, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her notorious mother's legacy. The only place Suzanna finds comfort is in The Peacock Emporium, the beautiful coffee bar and shop she opens that soon enchants her little town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina.
The specter of her mother still haunts Suzanna. But only by confronting both her family and her innermost self will she finally reckon with the past—and discover that the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.
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  • From the cover

    1

    Buenos Aires, 2001: The Day I Delivered My First Baby

    It was the third time in a week that the air-conditioning had gone out at the Hospital de Clinicas, and the heat was so heavy that the nurses had taken to holding battery-operated plastic fans over the intensive-care patients in an effort to keep them cool. Three hundred had come in a box, a present from a grateful stroke survivor in the import-export business, one of the few users of the state hospital who still felt dollar-rich enough to give things away.

    The blue plastic fans, however, had turned out to be almost as reliable as his promises of further drugs and medical equipment. All over the hospital, as the air dripped with the noisy heat of a Buenos Aires summer, you could hear the sudden "ÁHija di puta!" of the nurses-even the normally devout ones-as they had to beat them back into life.

    I didn't notice the heat. I was trembling with my own cool fear, that of a newly qualified midwife who has just been told they will be delivering their first baby. Beatriz, the senior midwife who had overseen my training, announced this with a deceptively casual air and a hard slap on my shoulders as she went off to see whether she could steal any food from the geriatric ward to feed one of her new mothers. "They're in Two," she said, gesturing to the delivery room. "Multigravida, three children already, but this one doesn't want to come out. Can't say I blame it, can you?" She laughed humorlessly, and shoved me toward the door. "I'll be back in a few minutes." Then, as she saw me hovering by the door, hearing the muffled wails of pain inside, said, "Go on, Turco, there's only one end it can come out, you know."

    I walked into the delivery room with the sound of the other midwives' laughter still in my ears.

    I had planned to introduce myself with some authority, to reassure myself as well as my patient, but the woman was kneeling on the floor pushing at her husband's face with a white-knuckled hand, and mooing like a cow, so I thought a handshake inappropriate.

    "She needs some drugs, please, Doctor," said the father, as best he could through the palm against his chin. His voice, I realized, held the deference with which I addressed my hospital superiors.

    "Oh, sweet Jesus, why so long? Why so long?" She was crying to herself, rocking backward and forward on her haunches. Her T-shirt was drenched with sweat, and her hair, scraped back into a ponytail, was wet enough to reveal pale lines of scalp.

    "Our last two came very quickly," he said, stroking her hair. "I don't understand why this one won't come."

    I took the notes from the end of the bed. She had been in labor almost eighteen hours: a long time for a first baby, let alone a fourth. I fought the urge to shout for Beatriz. Instead I stared at the notes, attempting to look knowledgeable, and tried mentally to recite my way through medical checklists to the sound of the woman's keening. Downstairs, in the street, someone was playing loud music in their car: the insistent synthesized beat of cumbia. I thought about closing the windows, but the idea of that dark little room becoming even hotter was unbearable. "Can you help me get her on the bed?" I asked her husband when I could stare at the notes no longer.

    When we had hoisted her up, I took her blood pressure and, as she grabbed at my hair, timed her contractions and felt her stomach. Her skin was feverish and slippery. The baby's head was fully engaged. I asked her husband about her previous history, and found no clues. I looked at the door and wished for Beatriz. "Nothing to worry about," I said, wiping my face, and hoped that there wasn't.

    It...

About the Author-
  • Jojo Moyes is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Giver of Stars, Me Before YouAfter YouStill Me, Paris for One and Other Stories, One Plus One, The Girl You Left Behind, The Last Letter from Your Lover, Horse Dancer, Silver Bay, The Ship of Brides, and The Peacock Emporium. She lives with her husband and three children in Essex, England.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Restless Suzanna Peacock has always hoped that her next venture--her marriage or her high living in London or, now, her new shop in the town where she grew up--would bring her perfect fulfillment. Her tribulations are spoken by Judith Boyd, who turns this novel into a stellar dramatic reading. We expect a narrator to deliver different voices and sound ranges, and sometimes a tone that describes the places on the pages, but this narrator lets you know at the beginning that you have entered a special arena. You know when she announces each chapter that she is figuratively drawing back a stage curtain and inviting you to enter the novel with her. This is the way excellence sounds. J.P. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine Elizabeth Sastre narrates with Christine Rendel and Fabio Tassone as they deliver the complicated story of Suzanna Peacock. Blessed and cursed to be the daughter of the scandalous Athene Fairley-Hulme, Suzanna finds that the only place she can be herself is in her own coffee bar. Sastre delivers a compelling performance as she takes on the emotions and concerns of the complicated Fairley-Hulme family, as well as the voices of residents in the farming town where Suzanna lives. Sastre's delivery keeps this audiobook experience upbeat even in moments of darkness, while Rendel and Tassone take on the roles of the more inwardly focused characters. V.B. � AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine
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A Novel
Jojo Moyes
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