Author: Rachel Joyce
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Random House
Edition: ARCSetting: English Village
Date Completed: August/2012
Rating: 5/5Recommend: yes yes yes
Harold Fry is an unassuming man, now retired after more than 45 years at the same job. Even when he retired he chose to go quietly with no recognition or fanfare. He's always seemed to go through the motions of life never pushing or challenging himself. Married to Maureen for 45 years, their relationship reminded me of two ships passing in the night. Everything that Harold does or doesn't do seems to annoy Maureen, to the point where they even have separate bedrooms. Things apparently changed for them when something happened to their only child, David.
One day a letter arrives from a woman named Queenie Hennessy, who Harold had worked with years earlier. She was a woman he had lost contact with and in her letter she says that she is writing to say "goodbye". Queenie is dying and spending her final weeks in a hospice facility some 600 miles away. It is this letter that finally makes Harold take action and challenge himself. Instead of writing back he decides while off to mail a letter to Queenie that he must "walk" to see her, sending a message and believing that if he does this, Queenie will live.
So begins Harold's "pilgrimage". Along the way, Harold reflects on his childhood (it explains so much about the man he became), his marriage - the kind of husband he has been and his role as a father. Along the way Harold meets several interesting individuals who all seem to be unhappy in much the same way Harold is, each longing to be loved.
I was so moved by this story. I fell in love with Harold and was moved by his actions and revelations. This story is so touching and literally left me with a lump in my throat at times.
A top 5 read of 2012 thus far...I adored it! Read it!