In The Time Of Peacocks | Book Review 4 Stars
Author: Lynne Handy, Fiction set in the 1950s and 60s.
Well… Here I am.
Writing about it.
About 50 pages into the nearly 500 page book… our little 15 year old Mexican protagonist finds her world turned completely upside down.
Curious about the lack of baby pictures and her family’s strange answers when she has questions about her early childhood memories; she isn’t hugely shocked when she discovers she is NOT the daughter of a wealthy coastal Mexican family. She is returned to her real ‘family’ and realizes her world was previously turned upside down back when she was 5 years old and was abducted away from her bland Indiana farm family.
Here she is in a 1950s Midwestern farm community. Passionately Catholic. Lively and curious, plus affectionate, well-read and in love with the poetry of her literary hero Federico Garcia Lorca. Yet her new-old-real-but-seem-fake family is stingy in their affection and at one time might have been religious but currently helped tear down the old church to farm more land.
Who are these people? And where are her true roots?
Last night I *might* have picked up the novel at page 50 and ahem… lost a few hours of my life to the story of Caterina wait… Cate Miller. I haven’t finished it yet. (I’ll let you know what I think after I do.) So I can’t give away too much of the story. But there are enough twists and turns and unexpected triumphs and let downs to keep me reading WELL past my mom-bedtime.
Her character is both feisty and feminist, yet confused and uncertain as to who she really is or who she ‘should’ be. I found myself both cheering her on and criticizing her for decisions that make no sense. In short I’m completely drawn into her world.
On the other hand there is a lot of liberal preaching sort of shoved down your throat. In the opening pages the author nearly shouts to the reader that a Gay lifestyle is perfectly fine, even worthy. And this theme is used several more times in the story line. Same for her views on the feminist movement and the racial tensions and civil rights movement in the 60s. I wish she had let the story speak for itself, maybe I’m reading too hard, but it drives me crazy when a novelist overtly points views like that out. I love when I come away from a novel thinking in a very different way than when I opened the first page because the story and characters helped me see their point of view. Of course I realize the author is telling the story and therefore we will hear the author’s take on political and social issues.
My little pet peeve isn’t enough to stop me from staying up past my bedtime two nights in a row so I can find out whether Caterina/Cate Miller finally figures out who she is and what it will take to be happy. I so want her to figure out that most happiness comes from inside. She seems to be waiting for others to make her happy? She’s starving for affection, yet in a big way she isn’t able to give it any more than she is receiving…
Synopsis From The Book Cover
“It is 1949 in a seaside town in Mexico, and Caterina lives happily as a cherished daughter of a wealthy family. She has only one worry: she has no early memories of her childhood. Increasingly, strange images drift into her mind—a gazebo, a farm, a blonde woman. She has no idea that she is really someone named Cate Miller, who was kidnapped from her Indiana farm family ten years earlier. In her fifteenth year, her life changes again. This time she will remember the past.
Cate survives an automobile accident in California that kills her Mexican parents. The police uncover her true identity and return her to her biological family, who gave her up for dead years ago. Against a backdrop of social change, Cate, who is tied to both the past and the present, struggles to achieve her dreams. A Catholic, she believes in the tenets of her faith with childlike obedience—but as she learns more of life, she finds a less orthodox route to the divine through the poems of Federico García Lorca.”
I give this book 4 stars out of 5 and a slight PG-13 rating.
There is a small amount of swearing and a few sexual scenes are described in mild detail. If it helps, I would recommend this book to my mother and to my book club.
Also the Kindle price of this book is only $3.99 right now! (NOTE: Amazon Link)
It’s definitely worth that price. Love to know what you think if you read it? I am enjoying it more than I expected and I think it would make for a lively book club discussion, but I’m stopping short of saying I ‘LOVE’ it.
I would like to see Ms. Handy’s second book for sure though.
Disclaimer: I was given this book to read if I chose at no cost to me.
I was not expected to write about it. My opinions and literary pet peeves are my own.
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