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29 January 2022

Book Review: The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl by AnneMarie Brear *AD gifted

I was provided with a free ebook of The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl by AnneMarie Brear ahead of the blog tour.

Well wasn't that lovely? Grab a cuppa and cosy up with a blanket, this historical novel will make you smell flowers, feel sunshine, and fill your heart. It'll also make you cry and shiver with cold, but the emotional journey is worth it, I promise.

The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl by AnneMarie Brear book cover

As a terrible storm rages, Annabelle Wallis is shocked to find a distressed young woman at her cottage door, heavy with child. Moments later a baby girl is born. But by dawn, the mother has vanished, leaving behind the helpless child wrapped only in a silk peacock shawl.

When news spreads that Lady Eliza Hartley, sister to wealthy estate owner, John Hartley, has been found dead, Annabelle realises the terrible secret she has stumbled on. Terrified she’ll be blamed for Eliza’s death, Annabelle flees to the filthy slums of York, where she plans to raise the precious orphan as her own

The cobbled streets of York’s slums are no place for a young woman like Annabelle or a Hartley babe and John Hartley is determined to bring them both home. But Annabelle proves impossible to find.

Annabelle can’t hide forever from the wealthy Hartley family, but can she ever give up the baby she loves?

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Source: Blog Tour | Review Copy

Content Warning: Death, grief, child birth, threat of sexual assault.

5 Word Review: Family, secrets, disgrace, life, love.

Oh to live in a remote cottage by a stream, tending a herb garden and mixing tonics.

The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl by AnneMarie Brear was a beautiful read.

Annabelle goes through so much. I loved the part of her life we got to see, from the picturesque to the poverty-stricken. She is one tough cookie, and I loved to see her fight for her convictions. She is good and loyal and generous, and my heart broke for her many times even as her actions filled it up.

John Hartley is... Complicated. Although he's not the oldest, he has a lot of responsibility, and takes n a lot of responsibility. I loved how he searched so determinedly for his niece, and for Annabelle.

I was expecting heart break, and there was heart break, but there was also so much more to the story.

This was a very comforting read. As much as it tackled some pretty hard hitting issues like death and grief and poverty, it retained a beautifully heart-warming narrative of love and care. Annabelle is a beacon of light in a harsh time and place. The ending was perfect, this book left me smiling.

Something I particularly loved about this book is that although there was a threat of sexual violence it never came to fruition. The danger was in the settings, and although there were vile people, the heroine avoided that particular trope which is all too prevalent in similar stories.

I will absolutely read more by this author.

The Orphan in the Peacock Shawl by AnneMarie Brear blog tour banner

AnneMarie Brear is the bestselling historical fiction writer of over twenty novels. She lives in the Southern Highlands in NSW, and has spent many years visiting and working in the UK. Her books are mainly set in Yorkshire, from where her family hails, and Australia, between the nineteenth century and WWI.


  1. I love books that feel comforting, even if there may be some difficult moments in it as well. And love the sound of Annabelle. She sounds like a wonderful character to follow. Glad you could love this one so much!

  2. Living in a remote cottage by a stream mixing tonics sounds like my idea of a good time.

  3. This sounds like an interesting read. Thanks for the review!


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