Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Harnessing Peacocks (King Penguin) by Mary…

Harnessing Peacocks (King Penguin) (original 1985; edition 1990)

by Mary Wesley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
322434,434 (3.66)16
Title:Harnessing Peacocks (King Penguin)
Authors:Mary Wesley
Info:Penguin (Non-Classics) (1990), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:inter-library loan, prostitution, meh, social commentary

Work details

Harnessing Peacocks by Mary Wesley (1985)



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 16 mentions

Showing 4 of 4
A single mother sends her son to boarding school, and works hard to keep him there. Some lively clashes, a series of coincidences, and a mostly satisfying conclusion. An unfortunate extensive use of bad language spoils an otherwise enjoyable (if unlikely) book. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Can a woman whose family holds a family conference to decide and plan her abortion manage successfully to steal away in the night and run away to make a life for herself and her unborn child? It appears so. Hebe lives in a quiet English village with her son, Silas, and manages by working as a private chef to a few elderly ladies for a few weeks at a time, and a prostitute to select men, a group she calls, her Syndicate. The latter career is of course, not a well known fact, and most of her clients, carefully chosen, communicate with her only through letters sent to a Pakistani store.

With her chosen lifestyle, Hebe lives a quiet but contented life, earning enough for the stiff tuition fees at Silas's private school.

Silas comes home for the holidays but goes off to spend 3 weeks with a friend whose family have invited him on a sailing vacation. As Hebe contemplates the change in plans, she decides to offer her cooking services to one of her elderly clients for the time that Silas will be away with his friend. Things start to unravel, when one of her clients learns that she is to be at his mother's friend's place, a rather shy nephew meets Hebe, a stranger meet with Silas and one of her clients becomes her friend.

Wonderfully humorous with a touch of whimsy. ( )
2 vote cameling | Nov 15, 2010 |
'Harnessing Peacocks' is a curious read - whilst a bit dated, it's also shocking and amusing. I've only recently heard of Mary Wesley and her 'wild' ways and I have the sense she wrote this book in her 70's. Would have loved to have read this book about 20 years ago, but still recommend it as a bit of a farce, and some holiday fun. Hebe, an escapee from the British establishment, with great devotion, raises her raises her son on earnings made through her two great gifts: cooking and love-making. Her equally devoted clients are all threaded together as either family, friends or members of the establishment and each is hoping or scrambling to gain greater access to her. Hebe holds them all at bay, until one of the threads begin to become undone ... ( )
  tandah | Dec 27, 2009 |
  anlor43 | Apr 15, 2007 |
Showing 4 of 4
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140123938, Paperback)

Mary Wesley creates one of the most enchanting heroines of recent literature in this story of independence, wit, and sensuality. Nineteen-year-old Hebe flees her family to avoid the forced abortion of her illegitimate child. What follows is at times poignant, touching, and in the end, surprising.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Hebe listens to the unanimous family decision that her unexpected pregnancy should be terminated. Hebe, dissenting, flees into the night. Twelve summers later she is living happily alone with her son in a Cornish seaside town.

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
12 avail.
14 wanted
1 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.66)
2 2
2.5 1
3 17
3.5 6
4 20
4.5 2
5 6

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 115,225,401 books! | Top bar: Always visible