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The Peacock Summer

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,698 ratings  ·  262 reviews
A compelling story of secrets, betrayals and the consequences of a long-ago summer from the bestselling author of Secrets of the Tides and The Shadow Year

'If she could reach back through the years and warn the person she once was, what would she say? ... What would she say to the ghosts who now inhabit her days? So many of those she has loved are now nothing but dust and m
Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published June 28th 2018 by Orion
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The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell is a 2019 Harper Paperbacks publication.

Historical fiction with strong Gothic undertones- an irresistible combination

In the 1950s, Lillian Oberon is living on the fabulously opulent estate of Cloudesley, with her successful, wealthy husband. Although her marriage is not a happy one, Lillian has resigned herself to her fate. But then a young, handsome artist, hired by her husband, moves onto the estate...

Lillian finally finds the love and passion she’s bee
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: All those versions of herself she has lived. So many different Lillians, all in this one body. If she could reach back through the years and warn the person she once was, what would she say? What would she tell that sorrowful girl standing in a London graveyard scattering earth onto the lid of her mother's coffin? Or the young woman with grazed knees and a twisted bike lying at her feet? The woman staring down at a solitaire diamond ring, marvelling at its dazzling promise? Would she ha ...more
Lillian was a naïve young woman of twenty-one when the wealthy and aristocratic Charles Oberon asked for her hand in marriage. She only had her beloved sister Helene to care for, and Charles assured her he would take care of her needs. Lillian loved Charles’ six-year-old son, Albie and in her innocence, thought she could make a difference to the man who had lost so much. Living in the Chilterns manor house, Cloudesley, Lillian began to feel trapped and caged – but she had no choice. This was her ...more
Diana | Book of Secrets
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
I listened to this lovely and heartbreaking novel on audio last summer. It was just the right blend of mystery, historical and Gothic fiction. Dark family secrets are hidden in the walls of Cloudesley. Can Lillian save granddaughter Maggie from her same fate? Wraps up with a bittersweet ending. Enjoyable ♥
3.5 rounded up

I came upon this audiobook after downloading and trying and giving up on several others that weren't doing it for me at the time. A luxury afforded to me and others by our wonderful library system.

The blurb of this novel is perfect, as unlike many other blurbs, it says enough without giving too much away: 'Set in a fading family estate nestled within the Chiltern Hills, this is the story of two summers, sixty years apart, woven together to reveal one dramatic family story.'

I enjoye
May 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell is a very atmospheric novel about a beautiful old mansion now crumbling and in need of repair and the secrets that it holds. Maggie comes home from Australia to look after her grandmother Lillian. The old lady has been in hospital and is confused to whether she is living in the past or present. She remembers the time of her unhappy marriage and a young painter who came to work for her husband. This is the first book I have read by this author and I will be lo ...more
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Graceful. This is the perfect word to describe Hannah Richell’s latest and third release, The Peacock Summer. The writing is celestial, the characters defining and the narrative irresistible. It is all set to a stirring stage, a crumbling old manor house on an English estate. The Peacock Summer is a tale that does not give up its secrets so easily, but when they are revealed, readers will bask in the glory of the love, passion, heartbreak and tragedy that be
✨ Gramy ✨
Peacock Summer, written by Hannah Richell, seems to be a stand-alone novel intertwining two lives from different generations. The very little I read of this book reflects that the young woman had a very dim view of her value as a person. Her total lack of self-worth was nauseating.


Two women who long for more, and a house that holds the key to their freedom…

Two summers, decades apart…

Two women whose lives are forever entwined…

And a house that holds the dark secrets that could fr
Hannah Richell's third novel centres, as her others have, on a house. Cloudesley is a grand country manor, home to the Oberon family. Lillian Oberon, now in her late eighties, has recently had a fall and suffered a kidney infection – she needs rest, and can't bear the thought of recuperating anywhere other than Cloudesley. Her granddaughter Maggie has spent the past year in Australia, and when she comes back to care for Lillian, she finds the house in dire need of repairs nobody in the family ca ...more
Dale Harcombe
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four and a half stars
Lillian’s life never turned out the way she expected it would when she agreed to marry the rich, aristocratic Charles Oberon. She loved his young son Albie and thought life at Cloudesley, her husband’s manor house would be ideal. Added to that Charles promise to provide the necessary care for her sister Helene who had been seriously injured. But then Lillian found Charles was not the man she thought he was. Her life began to feel like a prison with a controlling and abusive

Old gothic house
Secret rooms
Secrets inside the walls
Dual time line story
One visitor to the house changes everything

A summer read to savour!

Visit the locations in the novel - Visit Cloudesley Manor in the Chiltern Hills

I loved this book from the start. The cover is gorgeous too I should add and perfectly frames the story inside.
Where do I start with this review? Recommended reading if you enjoy family mysteries set over decades and all revealing themselves in large gothic houses with secret room
Karren  Sandercock
To solve her problems, a young naive Lillian decided to marry her charming and older suitor Charles Oberon. He's rich, he's handsome and owns a beautiful house in English countryside called Cloudesley.
Lillian is struggling to raise her younger sister Helen, marrying Charles is the obvious solution to her situation and she is looking forward to being a stepmother to Charles's young son Albie.
It doesn't take long for Lillian to realize she has made a big mistake, she's lonely, Albie is a nervous w
Theresa Smith
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aww2018
The Peacock Summer is a brilliantly atmospheric story of illusion and heartbreak, orbiting around an illustrious English estate filled with priceless treasures and the darkest of secrets. While I was tempted to simply devour this novel, I slowed down and lingered over it, because it’s that sort of story, where you want to just immerse yourself for as long as possible, so elegant was the writing and so consuming was the story. The house itself, Cloudesley, had a presence all of its own, Hannah Ri ...more
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell is an absolutely captivating novel; full of intrigue, imagination and everything beautiful.

Summer and peacocks; garden parties; art and murals; music and cocktails.

Set in a dual timezone where we venture from the coast of Australia to a beautiful home named Cloudesley in rural England.

It does hold some exciting elements; it's cleverly written and a bit of a thriller ~ I felt as if I was watching a movie and asking myself 'what's going to happen next'?

Each ti
This was the perfect book to read on a summer day while sitting on the deck. Taking place over a summer, one during the 1950s and the other present day, this compelling gothic encompassed everything needed for a tantalizing read: a crumbling manor house in the English countryside, juicy family secrets, and a secret love affair, all wrapped up in the satisfying conclusion.

Readers Kate Morton and Eve Chase will enjoy this as will those who enjoyed Ruth Ware's DEATH OF MRS. WESTAWAY and Claire Ful
Carla Johnson-Hicks
This story is told in two timelines, sixty years apart. It is told by Maggie and her grandmother Lillian. It is a family saga, full of secrets and emotions. It is the story of how a house affects the life of its inhabitants. It is a beautifully written story that captured my imagination and had me listening intently to find out what was going to happen to Lillian, Maggie and even Albee (Lillian's stepson, Maggie's father). Lillian literally falls into a life of wealth and privilege but without h ...more
Karren  Sandercock
To solve her problems, a young naive Lillian decides to marry the charming and rich Charles Oberon. He has money, he's handsome and owns a beautiful house in English countryside called Cloudesley.
Lillian is struggling to raise her younger sister Helen, her marriage to Charles is the obvious solution to her ease her worries and she is looking forward to being a stepmother to Charles's young son Albie.
It doesn't take long for Lillian to realize she has made a big mistake, she's lonely, her husband
For my full review of "The Peacock Summer" visit:

Loved it!

Combine family secrets, an atmospheric old English manor house, and dual timelines and you've created a recipe for a novel I'm sure to enjoy. "The Peacock Summer" did just that - making it a standout read for me personally.

I was absolutely riveted by both Maggie's and Lillian's stories. The characters were fully developed, real people, with strengths and weaknesses. They both have made decisions th
Liz Fenwick
A compelling story of forbidden love and ruined lives...with a house that holds secrets.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: richell-hannah
Haunting, heartbreaking and stunningly beautiful!! Just read it, it is a brilliant work! Thank you Hannah Richell.
Paula Sealey
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is exactly the kind of book I love to curl up and lose myself in. Incredibly moving and wonderfully told, I just adored this story from the first page to the last. The descriptive prose throughout is so beautiful and the characterisation superb. I was totally drawn into Lillian's story as she recounts her past life at her home 'Cloudesley' (Such a pretty name!).

Her granddaughter Maggie is trying to work through issues of her own while caring for a now elderly Lillian and attempting to save
Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum
The Peacock Summer by Hannah Richell is the perfect historical fiction novel and I just loved it! Replete with crumbling mansion/estate that has seen better years, the novel is a story about family, secrets and regrets unfolding in a dual narrative.

Lillian marries Charles Oberon at the age of 26 and becomes mistress of Cloudesley, a manor house in the Chilterns. Now quite elderly, Lillian's story unfolds in a series of flashbacks.

Maggie comes back to Cloudesley to care for her Grandmother Lillia
Elise McCune
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘The Peacock Summer’ is just the type of book I love to read. A dual narrative story, it is beautifully written, a tale of intrigue and mystery, and most importantly the characters are brought to life. Cloudesley, the crumbling manor house in England is such a place of secrets that I kept turning the pages of the book until the very end. The character of Lillian was beautifully written, both in the past and the present day, if she stepped through my front door I’d know her immediately. The book ...more
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-set-in-uk
Novel of life, love and family set in the CHILTERNS


This is a dual timeline novel following the story of Lillian in the post WW2 years and granddaughter Maggie in the present day. There are various backstories which are beautifully knitted together. At the heart is the historic family home of Cloudesley, set in fictional Cloud Green in the Chilterns. Parties and peacocks were the order of the day back then. Now, however, the whole estate has fallen into disrepair and a lot of money is require
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, aww2018
I have mixed emotions after
finishing this book. I am really glad to have read the conclusion but sad to be saying farewell at the same time.

I love dual timeline books and this is a good example of why.

Such a good read. My favourite book this year so far

#aussieauthor #awwc
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everything about The Peacock Summer subtly announces itself as a novel that defines and defies. From the exquisite detailing embossed on its cover; perfectly balanced colouring, typography, and imagery through to the delicately woven story within. The Peacock Summer is simply divine.

Richell has developed a cast of characters, central of all being the Cloudesley manor, all of whom you endear to easily in one way or another. Richell captures perfectly the dichotomy of good and bad that each of us
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t know where to start, this one has left me in awe what a story, a compelling, captivating story, a story of two woman Lillian Oberon and her granddaughter Maggie Oberon related not by blood but by love and caring and a family estate with treasures and secrets and what happens in their lives sixty years apart, this is a story that pulled me in, the characters so alive and genuine I felt their pain and their love, this is a story that you will not want to miss.

Lillian lives a quiet life in
Emma Crowley
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stunning cover for the new novel from Hannah Richell - The Peacock Summer instantly draws you in. The beautiful wallpaper inspires curiosity and you wonder how this can be connected to the story if at all? I wanted to venture through the door to discover what lay further on.To identify what the house called Cloudesley was willing to share with us. Right from the opening chapter this book was filled with lyrical, wonderful, descriptive writing that had you enraptured and so caught up in the s ...more
Rachael McDiarmid
Sep 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5 stars for the book cover which I think is absolutely beautiful ! 4+ for the book. I very much enjoyed this book, the various story layers, the characters and the settings. I enjoyed Hannah’s writing style which I find very relaxed and easy to read. The story itself isn’t complicated but I found myself let down by the ending slightly in terms of Maggie’s story. I think I wanted more from it. Lillian’s story played out the way I thought it would as did Jack’s, Albie’s and the others. Look, if yo ...more
Shaz Goodwin
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing

I loved the format of the storytelling in The Peacock Summer. Lillian, very frail in the present day and being cared for by granddaughter Maggie, flashes back to pivotal events in 1955. The flashbacks are prompted by things such as the flower show or the sound of a car engine which tie in beautifully for a smooth transition between the timelines keeping the flow of the story. There are vast opposites between the opulence of the past to the frugality of the
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Aussie Readers: The Peacock Summer by Aussie author Hannah Richell 4 23 Jun 16, 2018 06:59PM  

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Hannah Richell was born in Kent, England and spent her childhood years in Buckinghamshire and Canada. After graduating from the University of Nottingham in 1998 she worked in book publishing and film. Hannah began to write while pregnant with her first child. The result was Secrets of the Tides, picked for the 2012 Richard & Judy Book Club, the Waterstones Book Club and shortlisted for the Austral ...more

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“Home. She closes her eyes and thinks of a swaying meadow, dappled sunlight falling through green branches, walking among tall, leafy trees. She thinks of long, tapered feathers with eyes the color of emeralds and sapphires.” 1 likes
“Who was it who said, 'the most beautiful things in the world are the most useless: peacocks and lilies, for instance'?"
"I think that was Ruskin," says Jack.
"Ha!" laughs Charles. "There's truth in that. Could have included women, too." Charles laughs loudly at his own joke.
"Only if you're to assume a woman's sole purpose in life is to look good," counters Lillian.
"Well of course... there's looking good... and there's child-bearing," adds Charles, still looking ahead at the bird.
Lillian grips the bag in her lap a little more tightly.
If the artist seated behind them is aware of the tension, he deflects artfully. "I think Ruskin misses the point," he says. "Beauty is never useless. It has purpose. Look at us, sitting here. We've ceased all other activity just to pause for a moment and wonder at the sight of this bird. The extraordinary jolts us from the mundane and makes us feel something. It reminds us we're alive."
"Rather like art," says Lillian, after a moment.
Jack meets her gaze in the wing-mirror and nods. "Yes. Art. Music. Love."
Lillian drops her gaze, unexpected heat flooding her cheeks.”
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