“She had only read a page, but she knew already that it was her favourite book in the world. … this sublimely beautiful book gave voice to everything that was most precious to her … She stayed up til midnight reading it, and at times she was so moved she could not read the words through the tears. It was like reading her own soul.”
Persimmon is a lonely young girl. Her family is a divided one. There are those who value fruit and vegetables and those who love flowers. Persimmon’s mother from the fruit and vegetable side had eloped with a flower man and then sadly both parents died when Persimmon was a baby leaving her to be raised by her grandfather, Professor Polidori the acknowledged leader of the fruit and vegetable camp. Despite his best efforts Persimmon is drawn to flowers and on her eighteen birthday she received a mysterious inheritance from her Great Aunt Lily (formerly known as Turnip). Persimmon uses this money to open a small florist shop at the Botanical Gardens Railway Station. This means she is now estranged from her family forever.
Meanwhile down below on Platform One a small mouse called Epiphany is struggling to make sense of her noisy and closed world. She stumbles upon a beautiful butterfly who introduces her to the world of flowers and now Epiphany knows she has to follow her heart’s desire.
This exquisite book is told as a dual narrative and the lives of our two heroes only intersect in the very last scenes. Great Aunt Lily sends a series of letters to Persimmon telling her to go on a quest to find love. The title The Three Loves of Persimmon tells you that Persimmon will fall in love three times but only one of these young men will in fact be her true love.
Be warned there are some heart breaking scenes in this book and some moments of terrible tension, there are little moments of magic and truly beautiful descriptions which transport the reader to life in a busy station. There are also some wonderful words of wisdom :
“we are all bound – prevented in one way or another from doing the good we ought to do, living the lives we are called to live. Being who we ought to be.”
If you love Odo Hirsch you will want to read The Three Loves of Persimmon by Cassandra Golds. This book also reminded me of A rats tale and A Cricket in Times Square. I also enjoyed an earlier book by this author - Clair-de-Lune which interestingly also features a very special mouse.
I discovered this book at the CBCA short list announcement. The Young Adult reviewer included this book in her set of six short list predictions.