'An intelligent, beautifully written story about a dysfunctional family in a sinister paradise' The Times
Oceania 1879. A family of settlers from New Zealand are the sole inhabitants of a remote volcanic island.
For two years they have struggled with the harsh reality of trying to make this unforgiving place a paradise they can call their own. At last, a ship appears. The six Pacific Islanders on board have travelled eight hundred miles across the ocean in search of work and new horizons. Hopes are high for all, until a vulnerable boy vanishes. In their search for the lost child, settlers and newcomers together uncover far more than they were looking for. The island's secrets force them all to question their deepest convictions.
Praise for Mr Peacock's Possessions:
'Syson's novel, a modern take on the literary genre known (after Robinson Crusoe) as the robinsonade, is a haunting exploration of Lizzie's disillusion with her father's dreams and their damaging consequences'
The Sunday Times
'Syson's novel is richly evocative of a Pacific world in flux, as cultures clash and individuals battle to find their place amid the ensuing confusion . . . a very moving story of fathers and children, of faith and disillusion, and of the dangerous consequences of trying to take possession of people as well as land'
BBC History Magazine
'Lushly written, with immaculate historical detail, it worked for me on many levels'
Women and Home
'As compelling, mysterious and haunting as the troubled tropical paradise it portrays . . . Syson doesn't just write about the past, she transports us there. A tour de force'
'A wonderful book full of drama, courage and aspirations. The language is rich and the characters so humanely drawn'
'A thrilling story of love and courage, brutality and hope all told with equal measures of deep humanity, imagination and elan. Lydia Syson has an amazing gift of bringing history alive through richness of language, dramatic pace and fabulous visual imagery. This is better than watching a film!'
'With its chorus of vivid voices, Lydia Syson's novel reminds us why we consumed The Poisonwood Bible and The Underground Railway so avidly'
'What a powerful, rich and fascinating book. Dark historical events are interwoven with the mystery of a missing child on a remote Pacific island in 1879. Highly compelling'
'Swiss Family Robinson meets Lord of the Flies in Lydia Syson's superb and engrossing book. This scintillating story evokes an island paradise which descends into a nightmarish hell as Mr Peacock's Possessions builds towards a shocking revelation and a thrilling climax'
'A tense, evocative, richly imagined novel'
'Lydia Syson writes very well about the natural world . . . [and] the dark tensions in family life that overwhelm the Peacocks'
'Dazzling . . . A vividly realised, compelling novel'
'Mr Peacock's Possessions - one of those rare novels which keeps you up much later than you'd planned - is everything I love in a book. What starts out as a wonderful adventure slowly reveals itself as something altogether darker. Then you realise you can't put it down until you discover the truth. Swallows and Amazons for grown-ups'
'That's perhaps the greatest achievement of this novel: it stays with you. I've been haunted by it since I finished reading it. I hope very much that it gets the attention and praise it deserves . . . This novel is pleasurable on so many levels'
The History Girls
'Syson's eye for character is immediate - her narrative voice reaching out from the page and grabbing the reader from the off. They're drawn into a small but compelling community, one full of interesting characters and complicated relationships that only becomes more intriguing as the book goes on . . . Syson brings things to a climax that's as rewarding as it is moving - and allows her to examine community, youth and family in a beautifully drawn setting'
'This certainly is one of the most powerful, brilliantly written books'