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The Peacock Summer

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  582 ratings  ·  106 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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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
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 ♥
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
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

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
Theresa Smith Writes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Leanne Lovegrove
I didn’t want this novel to end. It’s exquisite. Beautifully written with lovable and flawed characters set over two summers decades apart. There’s the crumbling old manor house in rural England and the long held family secrets. Plus, forbidden love. I simply adored this one and highly recommend it.

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
Pam Tickner
A book club pick. I always worry when a book has a lavish cover (and it is beautiful) that I'm going to be disappointed. In the acknowledgements Hannah thanks all the booksellers for matching the right book with the right reader, and I'm not the right reader. An easy 'summer' read, well constructed and flows well with alternating chapters between a grandmother and her granddaughter. I did like that the last sentence of one chapter, opened the narrative for the next chapter even though decades ap ...more
Vanessa Wild
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a lovely story! When her grandmother, Lillian, has a bad fall, Maggie Oberon returns to her family home, Cloudesley, in the Chiltern Hills to look after her. As Maggie helps Lillian to recover, secrets are revealed which help Maggie come to terms with her childhood and solve the problems in her recent past.

I love a dual timeframe tale and this one just gripped me from beginning to end. Maggie’s and Lillian’s individual but interconnecting stories are wonderfully and seamlessly told.
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, the beautiful cover and page turning story made it hard to put down. my favourite kind of book; complex characters, a strong sense of place, a family mystery and plenty of heart. Highly recommended
Sam Still Reading
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Kate Morton
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: from the publisher
If you’re a fan of Kate Morton, you will simply adore Hannah Richell’s The Peacock Summer. The novel contains everything a reader needs for a cracking good time, from a crumbling old mansion with dusty relics and closed off sections to family secrets that take generations to come to the fore. There are two narratives between present day and the 1950s, with alternating chapters very cleverly episodes between the two. Add in characters with multiple motives and flaws and it’s a recipe for a story ...more
Megan Jones
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At twenty-six, Lillian feels trapped by life. Her marriage to Charles Oberon has not turned out the way she envisaged. To her it seems that she is just another object that he has collected in the walls of Cloudesley, her husband’s beautiful manor house tucked away in the Chiltern hills. But, with a young step-son and sister to care for, Lillian accepts there is no escape. Then Charles makes an arrangement with an enigmatic artist, Jack Fincher, who is visiting their home. Jack’s presence will un ...more
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was surprised to read in the acknowledgements at the end of the book that this entertaining summer read was written by the same Hannah who's story of how she came (or is going) through the aftermath of her husband's death was featured in Leigh Sale's exceptional book "Any Ordinary Day".

I was enjoying the story but felt a stumbling in the writing part way through, it seemed to become pedestrian for a moment until it seemed to rally for me at the end. And then at the end I learn that her husban
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating tale of love and jealousy. Lilian is recovering in hospital when her granddaughter Hannah returns from Australia to take care of her. Hannah is shocked to discover the rundown state of Cloudesley, the mansion Lilian calls home. where peacocks roam the grounds. Lilian was first brought here as a young bride but behind her story and a locked room lies a passionate love affair. The tale is told in two timelines: Lilian's life as a young bride and Hannah's, as she tries to find a way o ...more
Cressida McLaughlin
Spellbinding, beautiful and evocative. Hannah Richell is one of my favourite authors and this book is wonderful, with brilliant characters and so much emotion. I read the last few chapters through a blur of tears, and will remember it for a long time to come.
Helen Carolan
While this book was readable somehow it wasn't as gripping as her earlier reads. Her previous books have all been somewhat dark but this was missing from her latest. Perhaps understandable as she suffered a personal tragedy just as she was starting this one. Maggie has spent a year in Australia after running away from a doomed romance, but now she returns to England and the family home "Cloudsley" to care for her ill grandmother Lillian. 1955 and Lillian is married to the controlling and abusive ...more
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my heart! This is such a beautiful and heart-breaking book. It kept me hooked right to the end, I loved it.
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Aussie Readers: The Peacock Summer by Aussie author Hannah Richell 4 20 Jun 16, 2018 06:59PM  
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 Aus ...more