Today is my stop on the blog tour for Mr Peacock’s Possessions by Lydia Syson. This is the author’s first adult fiction novel having previously written three historical fiction novels for young adults. And in this novel the author takes inspiration from her partner’s family history to create a fascinating story of a family and their journey into unfamiliar territory.
The events in Mr Peacock’s Possessions take place in the late 1870’s where Joseph Peacock and his family are trying to get by in their remote island home. It is on Monday Island that Joseph wishes to be in control, to have ownership over the island and to be self sufficient. However, life here is far from idyllic, and the family struggle to get by on what we learn is an unforgiving home, struggling to produce the food they need to sustain a growing family. They have got by for two years before a ship appears and they are no longer alone. The ship carries brothers named Kalala and Solomona, along with four other Pacific Islanders who have travelled hundreds of miles in search of work and a new home. And it is here that their paths cross with the Peacock family, and they offer them guidance and help in adapting to island life. However, their hopes are hindered when a vulnerable family member disappears, and islanders and newcomers come together to help find the lost boy, uncovering more about one and other along the way…
I often enjoy historical fiction so was intrigued about the story behind this book. The narrative alternates between third and first person, and between the perspectives of the Peacock family, and from Kalala, as we see life on the island from different angles. We also journey back and forth through time, as there are flashbacks to two years previously when we see how the Peacock family began life on the island for the first time, and the challenges involved with raising a family in difficult conditions. This helped provide interesting insight into the family’s background, and about island life in general. The harsh landscape of Monday Island was vividly described which added to the atmosphere of the story, and there were plenty of details about their daily life from their journeys through the island to the food they ate and hunted for. The author’s family backgrounds and experiences also added to the authenticity of this story, and I read on in interest to see how their life would change, and whether they could be reunited with their lost loved one. This is a thought provoking read which explores various themes of family life and the strength of family bonds through challenging times. The title itself is an interesting one, particularly as we discover a lot about Mr Peacock’s character, and I was left wondering what could be considered as his, as he clings on to control over the island.
Mr Peacock’s Possessions was an enjoyable historical read which offered an intriguing family story within an unfamiliar landscape. It is to be published on 17th May by Zaffre Publishing (you can get your copy here!).
This review was written as part of the blog tour. You can check out the other stops on the tour on the dates and blogs below!