Back of the book :
When Queenie Hennessey discovers that Harold Fry is walking the length of England to save her, and all she has to do is wait, she is shocked. Her note had explained she was dying. How can she wait ?
A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write again; only this time she must tell Harold everything. In confessing to secrets she has hidden for twenty years, she will find atonement for the past. As the volunteer points out, ‘Even though you’ve done your travelling, you’re starting a new journey too’
Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of her story. She was wrong. It was the beginning ….
What I think :
Queenie is dying of Cancer, she’s currently in a hopsice, St Bernadines, in Berwick-upon-tweed. She writes Harold Fry a letter, to let him know she’s dying. When he writes back to tell her he’s walking the length of the country to see her and to hang on, she’s very surprised. She then decides to write him a second letter to let him know she’s sorry for the ‘bad thing’ she thinks she did to him years ago. So with the help of new volunteer helper ‘Sister Mary Inconnue’ she sets about writing the story of their time together twenty years ago.
WOW ! This is such a beautiful, beautiful story !
A really bitter sweet story of love, regret and redemption, that really tugged at my heartstrings in places. However there is a slight hint of humour in there as well.
I really adored each and every person in this book, The Pearly King, Finty the loud woman and Barbara the blind lady and all the other patients at the hospice. And even the The Horse, The Grapefruit Lady and the Dog with the stones who she saw when they had given her too many drugs for the Cancer.
The author has been incredibly descriptive, so you can really feel and see what is going on in Queenie’s head. which really brought everything to life. I would especially love to own a beach house and Sea Garden just like Queenie’s
Before I started this book I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect, I haven’t read ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ so I was a little uncertain if I was going to know what was going on, however as the author explains at the end of the book ‘ Queenie’ isn’t a follow on from ‘Harold fry’ they both sit side by side, and are perfect companions.
There are some very lovely illustrations in book and on the covers which are really quite lovely and well worth a special mention. They are drawn by Andrew Davidson.
All in all a this is a gorgeous book, one which is lovely from beginning, middle and end. I’m going to be reading ‘Harold Fry’ very soon !
I give this wonderful book 10/10.
Published by Doubleday on 09 October 2014.
A very big Thank you to Alison Barrow & Naomi Mantin for the copy of the book to read and review.