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Harnessing Peacocks Paperback – 3 May 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (3 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099501686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099501688
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"Delightful, intelligent entertainment" (Sunday Telegraph)

"Tremendously lively, very funny, touching, spirited" (Susan Hill)

"Hugely enjoyable" (Nicholas Shakespeare The Times)

"Warm, wise, witty, sexy" (Boston Globe)

Book Description

A single mother's scandalous past returns to complicate the present in this deftly-plotted comedy by the beloved Mary Wesley.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Philotes on 21 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read and re-read this book over the years getting enjoyment from it every time. I love the theme - young girl escapes the oppressive family who attempt to organise her life for her, concerned only with their own appearance, with no interest in her own feelings. Hebe's solution to her problem - earning a living - is clever, amusing and nicely apt, considering her family's opinion of her. That she makes such a success of her chosen career is a highly satisfying slap in the face for them..
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Molly Davidson on 13 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first Mary Wesley book I have read and it won't be the last. The whole book just drifted along nicely and the mini-dramas were all taken in their stride by the characters. Much of the book is dependent on the author's charasterisation of each person and this was really well done. I felt myself supporting the main character's lifestyle choices and metaphorically cheering for her though in reality I would not come across someone quite like her. Having finished the book after a few late nights I am going to do a character map of who knows who and how, just for the fun of it! Throughout the book there were only three characters who were presented as being unredeemable, and they were really nasty people.

As someone who usually reads crime fiction I wanted to break away from this and have chosen well in this book. I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone and intend to buy it as a Christmas present for someone.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Mary Wesley's novels are entertaining, surprisingly immodest, and good fun. In "Harnessing Peacocks" - a classical reference to a woman snaring lovers - the central character, attractive and alluring Hebe (classical epitome of youth), 'harnesses' lovers who pay her for her sexual services. She also harnesses nice old ladies who pay her for her excellent cooking. But Hebe has a traumatic past, a son whom she adores but whose father is unknown to her apart from a 'smell'. The story is both a drama which revolves around Hebe and a gentle satire of the 'upper middle class' lovers, families, and elderly ladies who employ Hebe. The time setting is before mobile phones, computers and social media, so the pace is of a generation ago, with a sense of an even earlier, more gracious period (the lifestyle of the old ladies).

This is a novel which will appeal to older women themselves, a joyous read with lots of reasons to smile. It would be sadly out-of-date both in style and content to anyone younger than 50. So, if you're over 50 and want a light but intelligent holiday novel, this could well be it.
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By poppy on 30 Mar. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this novel it had a believable plot albeit I know little of the world of high class prostitution and can only assume that all things being equal you get what you pay for' I loved the fact that Mary once again cocks a snoop at the class system and Hebe has the good sense to do the same it would seem that Mary Wesley views men as mainly weak driven by sex and this novel proves that delightfully most highly recommended up there with the camomile lawn
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By Jan Davis on 29 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An enjoyable read with an interesting and story line.Some of the subsiderary characters were very recognisable types which gave added depth to the story. The complications experienced by the heroine were amusing and the fact that to an extent the ending was left fairly open made it more believable.
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By Graham Holloway on 10 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Brilliant book - witty and a wonderful read.
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