7884753Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

The Book of Peach begins with Priscilla Bell (also known as Peach), divorced and lonely, recounting the determination held by her mother to turn Peach into a Southern Belle. Peach had moved away from, then, quietly returned to, her hometown of Chulahatchie, Mississippi. She bumps around her childhood home – remembering the old times and looking at the old photos – and seems to lack any real purpose in life. She meets Charles Chase at the Piggly Wiggly – and realizes that she may be ready for another try at love after all.

Peach remembers the old times through journal entries that she is making at the suggestion of her therapist. She frets about the veracity of the stories, and whether she is actually mixing fact with fiction. She has the gnawing feeling that she needs to make a major change in her life, but she is unable to take the next step. Luckily for Peach, she spends enough time in retrospective self-reflection that in the end, she does figure out what to do and how to be genuinely happy. She realizes that one’s own past will include the glory days, but that those are not always enough to sustain a woman through the future life she is seeking to create. Sometimes, a girl has to start from scratch, and Peach is learning that her pedigree be damned, she needs to make it on her own (not on the basis of her ancestral name).

In the end, Peach learns what we all must learn, and that is that we are all beautiful inside and out because we just are – not because someone else has to tell us it is true. This book is recommended to women and girls of every age.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.