The Three Loves Of Persimmon – Cassandra Golds

ISBN – 978 0 143 20501 2
First Published – 2010
Pages – 212

“Persimmon Polidori is a fine young lady, but within her is a rebel. She must follow her heart’s desire, even if it means her family will reject her for the choices she makes. These choices bring her adventure and a world she never knew existed – they also bring her loneliness…

Along the way, Persimmon undergoes the trials of love, heartbreak, doubt and the discovery of her own true value.

And she does it with the aid of a tiny, brave creature named Epiphany.

‘The Three Loves Of Persimmon’ was my first experience with Cassandra Golds’ writing, and I am so glad to have read it. The book wasn’t like anything else I have read. But first, let me explain a little about the plot.

The Three Loves Of Persimmon follows the stories of two main characters; a girl called Persimmon, and a mouse called Epiphany. Persimmon has been disowned by her family because of her whimsical love of flowers and with no parents to turn to, she is unsure of what to do or where to turn. Then a letter arrives from her deceased aunt who was apparently clairvoyant (so was able to send letters from the grave), and inclosed was money for Persimmon. Her aunt also gifts her a flower shop and advises her to follow her dreams. However, Persimmon soon finds herself lonely and sets out on a quest for love.
Running parallel to Persimmon’s story is that of Epiphany the mouse, who lives on Platform One under the botanical gardens. Epiphany can’t help but feel she doesn’t belong in the train station, and she longs to leave and discover more of the world and of her father, who mysteriously disappeared. Epiphany is too afraid to leave until one day a butterfly blows into the station and tells her about ‘The Place Of Flowers’ above the station. From then on, Epiphany’s imagination is sparked and she decides to seek out this beautiful place.

The book is split between the stories of Persimmon and Epiphany, and although at first their stories are separate (aside from their shared setting of the train station), I loved how both stories came to intertwine and bring about a stunning ending.
The novel was set in Sydney, specifically in Circular Quay (I think…I’m not too familiar with that part of the city. Sad, I know, especially when I live here. But still…) and the Botanic Gardens which was lovely as there just isn’t enough amazing Australian YA literature around. Well, not that I know about anyway.
The setting was beautifully described and I loved the passion that went into the descriptions of the flowers and the gardens and even the station. A place that seems so dirty, disgusting and dull was brought to life in Golds’ amazing descriptions. I almost began to feel at home with the creatures of the station or in Persimmon’s shop.

The characters in The Three Loves Of Persimmon were also stunningly described and portrayed, both human and animal (and in some cases plant and insect) alike. I really enjoyed having  Persimmon and Epiphany as dual protagonists, especially since they provided such different and contrasting views of the world, though these perspectives managed to work together to create a harmonious, compelling tale.
The secondary characters also added an unforgettable element to the novel. Rose, Persimmon’s literature loving chaperone and talking Cabbage, was a thoroughly amusing and lovely addition to the book. For a vegetable, Golds did a wonderful job at portraying her emotion and feelings.
It was the character of Gabriel, however, that had me confused. He was an artist who asked to paint Persimmon’s portrait, which to me seemed fairly straightforward. But it’s when you think you have his relationship with Persimmon all figured out that Golds grabs you by the feet, turns you upside down and shakes your world around a bit. Nothing is as it seems with Gabriel, and I took this two ways. In one sense, it made the novel intensely interesting. I wanted to figure out his motives and have him down pat – not that that ever happened.
But in another sense, I also got intensely confused. I won’t give anything away about Gabriel’s story, but it just didn’t seem complete to me. I didn’t really understand his character, even though I wanted to, and I guess that sort of annoyed me. It’s my one major qualm with this novel. Everything else I loved – but I just couldn’t get Gabriel’s character and his story didn’t feel finished. It seemed like there should have been more. He just disappeared.
(Update: After reading our interview with Cassandra, his story makes a whole lot more sense. Wow, I didn’t even know that people like Gabriel existed, but I hope I never encounter anyone like him!)

What really made this novel magnificent was the emotion expressed in it. The Three Loves Of Persimmon was a bundle of beautiful, messy, realistic emotion. It was so raw and true that it made me so happy; so joyful to have read this.
At times I couldn’t wipe the grin off my face. This book could be so uplifting and heartwarming that you can’t help but smile, yet at other times I was despairing along with the characters. Everything seemed so hopeless! Golds expertly manipulated my feelings, and I’d let her do it again at the drop of a hat.

The Three Loves Of Persimmon was a mesmerizing novel that can only be explained as a beautiful story about love, friendship and the beauty of our world. It taught me that even the smallest moments, the tiniest instances in our lives can change someone’s world altogether, and that we should never, ever give up our search. I learnt that it’s okay to let go of those you love, because if they really love you then they aren’t really gone, and that beauty is everywhere, not just in flowers and paintings.
The Three Loves Of Persimmon is full of good messages, as well as stunningly written characters and well defined settings – a must read for anyone looking for an emotional story of love and loss and everything in between. It’s an easy read, but one well worth the time.
If you’re interested, you can check out our interview with the awesometastical Cassandra Golds here.

Rating (out of 5):

– Sas

“”I do have a purpose. It is right in front of me, wherever I happen to be. Every passing minute. I am not a mistake. I am not surplus to requirements. I am here for a reason.””

Received courtesy of Penguin Australia.

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