I'm pretty sure that any review I write is not going to do this book justice. In fact, any plot summary is going to sound desperately miserable. Poor, neglected Peony - a depressed, pregnant mother who has already lost one baby, a father who has died leaving them both bereft and grieving - what's to enjoy? But I'm telling you, I don't like miserable books, and I LOVED this one.
The author captures Pea's voice so perfectly. I'm not sure I've ever read a book where the narrator was so beautifully created. Narrating an entire novel from the perspective of a 5 year old is never going to be easy - or so you'd think - but King makes it seem effortless.
If you've ever visited the French countryside, or stayed in a Gite, you'll be gripped by the beautiful descriptions. Pea is restricted to the area immediately surrounding her house, but this is an entire fantasy world she explores with her playmate Margot. They run wild, collecting 'specimins', doing their best to do housework and getting into minor (and not so minor) scrapes.
Scary-looking Claude and his magical dog, Merlin who hears for him. Witchy Josette. These are fairytale characters in a real world, and we learn all about them through Pea's innocent eyes.
I was, simply, captivated by this novel - perhaps it helped that I was reading it during a heatwave, echoing the hot, steamy atmosphere of the story, but I'd recommend it to anyone.