How it Happened in Peach Hill by Marthe Jocelyn

howithappenedinpeachhilljocelynHow it Happened in Peach Hill

 

by Marthe Jocelyn 

 

 

  • VOYA: 4Q4P J
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Library Binding: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books; Reprint edition (March 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375937013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375937019

Annie leads a strange vagabond life moving around the north east with her mother Madama Caterina.  As the spiritual advisor and her dimwitted helper are run out of each town, they move on to the next venue, eager to hit it big.  This year, however, Annie is fifteen, and she’s tired of pretending to be “slow” in order to help her mother gather information for her seances.  As at least one local in Peach Hill, their latest stop, begins to get suspicious, Annie sees an opportunity to escape her fate.  Faced with losing her money-maker, however, Madame Caterina begins scheming on her own, and when she brings in a weathy investor, Annie realizes that a normal life may be harder to find than she thought.  Desperate to protect her mother from a conman while enacting her plan to miraclously “cure” her mental illness, Annie finds herself making unlikely friends, falling for a boy, and coming into her own. 

Annie and her mother are sassy, intelligent women who use their wiley ways to navigate the difficult social scene of 1920s New England.  Readers interested in historical detail will find Jocelyn’s research to be immaculate, while those who enjoy a good dose of humor will not be disappointed.  Even those who normally avoid historical fiction will find Peach Hill and its inhabitants engaging.  The story itself could work in any setting, but has particular appeal during the rise of spiritualism of the 20s.  Peach Hill will appeal to female readers for the most part, but anyone with an interest in coming of age stories and fortune telling may find the read fulfilling.  Jocelyn does an excellent job of creating memorable and engaging characters, and the ending is both unexpected and satisfying.

 

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