Sarah's Stars

Marthe Jocelyn. How It Happened in Peach Hill
Tundra Books $12.99 ISBN 978-088776-907-8 232 pg.
Reviewed by Koryn, Age 12

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 herself?

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.

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