In the Sixties, Athene Forster is the most glamorous girl of her generation. Nicknamed the Last Deb, she is also beautiful, spoilt and out of control. When she agrees to marry dashing young heir Douglas Fairley-Hulme her parents breathe a sigh of relief. But within two years rumours have begun to circulate about Athene’s affair with a young salesman. Thirty five years on, Suzanna Peacock is struggling with her glamorous mother’s legacy. At odds with her father and his second wife, struggling in a stalled marriage, she returns to the place of her birth to find that the ghost of her mother, in differing ways, still haunts them all. The only place she finds comfort is in her shop, The Peacock Emporium, a coffee shop-cum-curio store, decorated in her own image, which provides a haven for other misfits in the town. There she makes perhaps the first real friends of her life, including Alejandro, a male midwife, escaping his own ghosts in Argentina. But the spectre of Athene and the shop itself combine to set in place a chain of tragic events, forcing Suzanna to confront the feelings she has disguised for so long – and her family, in their varying ways, finally to deal with the events of the past. And Suzanna discovers the key to her history, and her happiness, may have been in front of her all along.
Jojo Moyes is a British novelist. Moyes studied at Royal Holloway, University of London. She won a bursary financed by The Independent newspaper to study journalism at City University and subsequently worked for The Independent for 10 years. In 2001 she became a full time novelist. Moyes’ novel Foreign Fruit won the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004. She is married to journalist Charles Arthur and has three children.