Vivid and intoxicating... review of NZ author Merryn Corcoran's 'The Peacock Room'   25 Oct 2019

Charlotte Everett

Merryn Corcoran’s third novel The Peacock Room is a colourful tapestry of love, loss, mystery and adventure.

Our protagonist, Allegra, is a London woman who finds her life turned upside down with the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. Distracting herself with her passion for historic interior architecture, as well as an interest in her Italian ancestry via her ailing grandpapa, it doesn’t take much for her best friend to convince her to join her on a three-day trip to Florence.

Set between London and Tuscany, we find ourselves utterly immersed in Allegra’s life as she pulls herself out of the devastation of her marriage ending, and blossoms into a strong, passionate, independent woman. Suffering a horrible incident at the hands of a dangerous man in Italy leads her to police officer Massimo, who reawakens Allegra’s sensuality, and teaches her what it is like to be truly treasured and loved. Along the way, a series of fortunate encounters or introductions pave the way for Allegra literally unearthing the secrets of her family history, and gaining a better sense of her own identity.

Although at times Allegra’s life seems more like fantasy than reality, she’s a character that any woman will be able to relate to – even if our lives are not as action-packed as Allegra’s! Anyone who has been through the heartache of divorce – whether as a divorcee, or as the child of one – will be able to sympathise with the turmoil both Allegra and her ex Hugo endure, and with the acting out of their children. The loss of a loved grandparent and the regret at not asking them more about the past, the illness of a parent, and the euphoria that comes with a new lover. For those who have never travelled, The Peacock Room transports Tuscany to wherever the reader resides. Corcoran’s ability to paint such strong imagery with her words enables you to feel as though you are right there with Allegra, experiencing each moment with her. It helps of course that both the Peacock Room and Sammezzano Castle really exist, and Corcoran has visited them.  I hope that one day I get to visit the Peacock Room myself (sadly it’s only open to visitors one day a year) – but if I don’t, I feel that I truly have a sense of it from Corcoran’s writing. The colours and detail leap out of the text.

Corcoran, a New Zealand writer who now calls Europe home, does not resist the temptation to weave Aotearoa into the story. It’s the acknowledgement of the Christchurch earthquake that gives Allegra a major breakthrough in her own story.

The Peacock Room is an immersive and truly sexy read – weaving together romance, travel, mystery, and crime. But ultimately it is the story of a woman finding her true self and celebrating her worth. A recommended read – and one you’ll find difficult to put down.

 

The Peacock Room is available on Amazon – Kindle, papaerback, or audio book. Also available at WH Smith.

 

About the reviewer:

Charlotte Everett has been contributing to NZNewsUK since 2011, and currently serves as London Editor – a post she has held since mid-2013. She has been based in London since mid-2007 and has a broad writing portfolio, including music/entertainment, theatre reviews, travel, rugby, Kiwi success, vegan food, and WW100/ANZAC. She is also an experienced freelance tour guide, and leads city walks across London and Oxford several times a week. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook.

Add a comment

Bookmark and Share

News

Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti

16 Nov 2019 Environment By Hon Eugenie Sage
16 NOVEMBER 2019 A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine... more

Royal visit takes Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla from Waitangi to Christchurch

19 Nov 2019 News By Katie Doyle
18 November 2019  Domestic violence services, conservation and education are all on the list for the royal... more

Business

NZ-China FTA upgrade negotiations conclude

5 Nov 2019 Business News By Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern
4 NOVEMBER 2019 Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker have announced the conclusion of... more

National interest test added to overseas investment rules

19 Nov 2019 Business News By Hon David Parker
19 NOVEMBER 2019 The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national... more

Living

Hawke's Bay wins big at the New Zealand Wine Awards

15 Nov 2019 Food & Wine
A Hawke’s Bay Syrah has won the New Zealand Wine of the Year™ Champion 2019 trophy, while a Hawke’s Bay winery has... more

Wagner Opera and fire dancing Samoans aim to raise awareness around knife crime in London

16 Nov 2019 Arts
Wielding innovation whilst upholding tradition needs knife-like precision to be effective, and that’s what Wandsworth-based... more

Property

Fairer rules for tenants and landlords

17 Nov 2019 Property By Minister Kris Faafoi
17 NOVEMBER 2019 The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer... more

New Zealand Government will not implement a Capital Gains Tax

17 Apr 2019 Property By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
The Coalition Government will not proceed with the Tax Working Group’s recommendation for a capital gains tax, Jacinda Ardern... more

Migration

Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued

19 Nov 2019 Migration By Hon Iain Lees-Galloway
19 NOVEMBER 2019 We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to... more

Christchurch reinstated as refugee settlement location

18 Aug 2018 Migration
18 AUGUST 2018 HON IAIN LEES-GALLOWAY The announcement that Christchurch can once again be a settlement location for refugees... more

Travel

Arrival card change to smooth border process for international travellers to NZ

26 Sep 2018 Travel & Tourism By Hon Kris Faafoi
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 International travellers arriving into New Zealand should have a simpler, faster entry as a result of changes to... more

NZ Government to fully fund Auckand's SkyPath as part of $390m investment in walking and cycling

25 Aug 2018 Travel & Tourism
23 AUGUST 2018 HON PHIL TWYFORD HON JAMES SHAW Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Acting Associate Transport Minister James Shaw have... more

Sport

The Skipper's Diary: Sir Richard Hadlee honouring his father and NZ's Forty-Niners

27 Oct 2019 Cricket By Charlotte Everett
NZNewsUK London Editor Charlotte Everett spoke to Sir Richard Hadlee about why he’s chosen to publish his father’s... more

PREVIEW: All Blacks v England semi-final

26 Oct 2019 Rugby
The two most convincing quarterfinals winners are set to square off in a semifinal showdown for the ages when the All Blacks meet old... more

Columns

Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade

11 Nov 2016 Opinion
Gordon Campbell on the Gareth Morgan crusade First published on Werewolf The ghastly likes of Marine Le Pen in France and Geert ... more

Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome

10 Nov 2016 Opinion
Column - Gordon Campbell   Gordon Campbell on the US election outcome Well um.. on the bright side, there (probably)... more

Kiwi Success

Congratulations to Loder Cup winner

26 Sep 2018 People By Hon Eugenie Sage
25 SEPTEMBER 2018 The Loder Cup, one of New Zealand’s oldest conservation awards, has been awarded to Robert McGowan for 2018... more

Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO

16 Aug 2018 Appointments
16 AUGUST 2018Appointments to New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO HON JENNY SALESA Associate Education Minister Jenny Salesa is... more

Recruitment

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

14 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more

Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers

22 Aug 2018 Recruitment By RT HON JACINDA ARDERN
14 AUGUST 2018Historic pay equity settlement for education support workers RT HON JACINDA ARDERN HON CHRIS HIPKINS Prime Minister The... more