Mama taught me to lie.
Some would say that Mama went to jail in Carling, New York, because of
lies, but we had other ideas.
We knew that the truth came in different varieties and that most people
had a favourite. Same thing with untruth. Any one could decide what to
call a lie, so sometimes there’d be a misunderstanding.
Mama made claims to being a clairvoyant: able to “see clearly” what was
unseen by everyone else. She had what she called a sensitive way with the
spirit world. I was her assistant. We offered services that only we could
perform. Mama cultivated her talents to help people seeking solace, or
relief from a predicament.
It is 1942 and Annie
and her mother are both successful mediums who help others using their
clairvoyant guidance, as long as they’re willing to pay. But it is all a
scam. And because of that, Annie and her mother must move from town to town
to keep their psychic scheme running. When they reach Peach Hill, Annie must
be under disguise as a village idiot, in order to gather information for her
mother’s fortune telling. But something is different in Peach Hill, and when
Annie gets tired of playing her part she drops the idiot act. But her mother
is ready for a new scheme. Will Annie play along, or will she finally find
How It Happened in Peach Hill is a well-written story that depicts a
controlling mother-daughter relationship, and how Annie found herself after
those 14 years. The characters were well written and the plot was excellent.
I enjoyed the way you could feel the characters building into each other,
and the mysterious plot full of twists, turns, and psychic frauds. The
characters all played a significant part in the story, bringing it to its
climax and then to the satisfying ending. This book was touching and fun, a
thoroughly enjoyable read.
I give How It Happened in Peach Hill four stars and recommend it for
grades 6 and up.