Thrilled to host today's stop on this blog tour
24 June 2021
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
Agra, 1938: Eighteen-year-old Florence Hunt has grown up riding horses past the Taj Mahal and chasing peacocks through her backyard under the critical gaze of her father. Increasingly enamoured with his work on the booming railway, Florence yearns to know more, but finds herself brushed away, encouraged only to perform the more ladylike hobbies of singing and entertaining guests. So when a dazzling young engineer walks into her life, she finds herself not only gripped by secret lessons in physics but swept entirely off her feet.
Portsmouth, 1953: Fifteen years later, Florence finds herself pregnant and alone in post-war England – a far cry from her sun-drenched existence in India. Struggling to cope with the bleakness of everyday life in a male-dominated world, Florence is desperate to find the woman she used to be. But when someone from her past reaches out, Florence might just have a chance to start over.
Soaring from the shimmering heights of the big top to the depths of heartbreak, can Florence find the happiness, independence, and passion she once had in order to start living again?
Set against the lush backdrop of early 20th-century India, In the Mirror, a Peacock Danced – the debut novel from Justine Bothwick – is the moving story of one woman’s journey back to herself.
📖 My Thoughts..
From the intriguing title, and the sumptuousness of the cover, In the Mirror, a Peacock Danced draws you into the exotic world of colonial India in the heady years just before the country's independence.
The story opens in 1938 and into the life that Florence Hunt enjoys in Agra with her widowed father. In a world of privilege and dazzling colour, Florence reaches her eighteenth birthday as a beautiful self-possessed young woman with a lively mind and an enquiring nature. The story then jumps forward to 1953 where we meet up with Florence in Portsmouth and my interest was immediately piqued as to how Florence came to be living in such dreary circumstances in post-war England.
I enjoyed piecing together Florence's life in India, especially her enthusiasm for all things engineering and in particular her interest in the railways which makes her something of an oddity amongst her female contemporaries however, she is filled with a questioning mind and it is this which moves the story forward. The author writes with a lovely, light descriptive touch bringing Florence's complex character to life with all the contrasts, both in India and England.
In the Mirror, a Peacock Danced flows beautifully with such an authentic feel to time and place that I was equally at home chasing the peacocks in India as I was immersed in the post war gloom of Portsmouth. Florence is a worthy protagonist, full of contrasts which comes from being caught between two worlds and it was fascinating to watch how all the pieces of her life finally came together.
I am sure that on the strength of this debut novel we shall expect to see much more from this talented new author in the future.
About the Author
Justine Bothwick grew up in Kent and Hampshire, and studied in London. In 2005, she moved to Italy and now teaches English in an international secondary school in Rome. She is married to a Roman architect. Together they have a flat in the city with a small balcony on which she grows her ever expanding collection of plants and watches the local birdlife. Justine is a graduate of the Manchester Writing School’s Creative Writing MA programme and has short stories published in Fictive Dream, Virtual Zine, Confingo Magazine, and forthcoming in The Lonely Crowd, and with Nightjar Press. In the Mirror, a Peacock Danced is her debut novel.
Twitter @Bothwick_Cro #APeacockDanced