Publisher’s blurb: In this poignant parallel story to Harold’s saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy’s voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold’s. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths–about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea.
What’s it ABOUT: Read the bit above.
Why did I read this: BECAUSE I LOVED HAROLD FRY. Can’t help it. I did.
What’s the big deal: You all know that book that sends some one over the-top enthusiastic for a lovely lovely charming deep made-me-cry book and OH SO CHARMING! (I think I just like charming) YOU BECOME WARY. Anyway, and then you read that same book and it’s GOOD, it’s maybe better than OK; but it didn’t light the pilot light of your gas stove, yaknowwhatImean, and you wonder what was wrong. Was it mood? Was it a different odd energy connection?
I’m just going to say it but I think Rachel Joyce is now my new favorite author. Certainly one of my top 3 fiction writers and I now I can’t decide if I should rush out to buy/read her Perfect novel or wait. Do I wait? Will the third-book-jinx strike?! I seem to have a thing about the third book being disappointing.
And I do think it is because I’m so wrapped up expecting fireworks of amazement that I miss the comfortable hmmm-this-is-GOOD in a GOOD solid way?
I know that Harold Fry was a head-scratcher for some of my friends (and regular people on goodreads, yikes) and I know that Ti and I usually do NOT agree on books and we are both adoring fans of Harold. So… I don’t even know what that means.
OK. Here’s what it means.
I doesn’t matter. Sometimes a books is AMAZING and sometimes it is not but I love ALL of it. I even love my 2 star reads (because they make me feel smart?)
We don’t have to agree and we don’t have to apologize or feel bad for any reading experience, ever.
I do love my 2-star reads. [GOODREADS SAYS TWO STARs MEANs “It’s OK.”] I have only read one or two seriously disappointing books (one star or less) IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Those incredibly bad but with arrogant authors that can’t be separated from any of their so-called prose; that made me all stabby and want to ban said author from any publishing world.
And I think that is a darn fine track record.
The books I read are not to impress you. They are to impress me. and IMPRESS doesn’t mean here TO THINK WELL OF, but to make some kind of IMPRESSION ON. Three star books are extremely valuable to me; they temper, they allow me to be super dooper impressed when the chemistry and stars align for the OMG-awesome books.
If Harold Fry didn’t wow your socks off, then I doubt you need to read Queenie’s journey. But if you love the deep and sad and the happy and touching and want to see if this delivers? Read Miss Queenie’s version (but read Harold first, due to spoilers) and I dare you not to cry. Then call me when you are done and we can cry together. Joy is not a feeling to be trifled with.
I love books that touch me like this one did. And I wasn’t sure it was going to until the end. (much like Harold’s book, actually). And yet. I know that there are more books for me to experience which just might top! Isn’t that tremendously exciting? I’m totally showing off my book-geekness, I know…
AND. Oh do I dare say this? I did find flaws with this book. I did have some issues but they just paled compared the goodness I saw and felt.
“I realized that I had looked for these landmarks instead of saying goodbye. But sometimes, you don’t say the word because you think the thing is ongoing; when actually, it is already over.”
“They were a delicious bunch. But always forgetting the sensible things like food and daylight and only remembering the more intoxicating things like love and gin.”
“The sorrow is not gone, it just no longer hurts as much.”
The narration is wonderful.
Rating: Five slices of British Meat Pie.