New contributor Mahri Smith reviews ‘The Peacock Room’ by Merryn Corcoran
Set in Tuscany, Merryn Corcoran’s The Peacock Room is set in the Sammezzano Castle that radiates eccentric colours and has a curious history linked to the main character, Allegra’s grandfather. After suffering heartbreak upon discovering the infidelity of her husband Hugo, we follow Allegra from Fulham, London to a dramatic landscape of Chianti wines and hilltop villages of central Italy.
With a setting so beautiful and an Italian romance that all girls have dreamt about – surely more than we would admit to – Corcoran’s The Peacock Room is like sugar in water, you simply dissolve into it.
Allegra O’Brien’s life is nothing short of sumptuous. Living in her beautiful London home with her two children and charming husband Hugo the idea of her life turning upside down was the last thing on her mind. After discovering the two lives her husband had been living, one being the prince in her fairy-tale and the other being the boyfriend of a girl closer in age with her daughter, the infidelity drives her to re-write her own story.
With Allegra’s new found spontaneity and blood still boiling, she finds herself on a plane with her best friend to Tuscany. The setting in this novel is simply enchanting and finding out that the Sammezzano Castle is a true historical landmark makes the fairy-tale even more lifelike; leading to indulgence in each page. Throughout Allegra’s life her mind had been flooded by her beloved grandfathers stories of the whimsical ‘Peacock Room’ in said castle.
Throughout a series of misadventure Allegra finds herself in the exact room her grandfather reminisced upon as well as to a slightly cheesy, but fanciful romance with her newfound Italian lover Massimo. With each sentence sounding like a love poem, and the voice behind it being an Italian accent that could melt your gelato, the spark inside of her heart is relit.
Merryn Corcoran incorporated heartbreak, mystery, loss and love early on in the book making it hard to put down after you’ve picked it up. Throughout the book there are family complications as well as personal growth that will surely pull at your heart strings and might even make you call up a relative you’ve grown distant with. The motherly traits towards our characters two teenage children, as they too deal with the growing pains that life has to throw at them are nothing but admirable. Watching the relationship between mother and daughter blossom even through the toughest of times might even have you shed a tear.
The romantic element of this novel was dreamy, although it left a lingering feeling of ‘this is too good to be true’ in my head. From the over the top charming dialogue to the instant emersion in love and lust between our character and her newfound lover, I couldn’t depict whether it was cheesy or cynical. But Massimo’s unwavering good intentions and pure heart towards Allegra and all of the weight she carried, allowed me to go to sleep believing that true love exists.
All of the elements that this novel held made it very enjoyable to read and very difficult to put down. From the details in colour and structure that will make you day dream, to decades of mystery and the true meaning of family, the fast paced and immersive writing makes for a quick read that will carry you away.
To buy a copy of The Peacock Room, click here.
Mahri Smith was born in Canada and has a passion for literature and travel.