Friday, February 6, 2015

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy; Rachel Joyce

2015 -Random House

Rachel Joyce's first book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2012), is a book which made my top reads list for that year. In that story her protagonist, Harold who had recently retired receives a letter from an old friend who tells him she is dying.  Harold feels compelled to walk 600+ miles to see his old friend before she passes away.

In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, it's Queenie's turn to tell her story before she passes away from cancer.  The last time she had ever seen her friend Harold she left Kingsbridge without even saying goodbye. Now from her hospice room with the help of Sister Mary Innoconnu, Queenie shares her story.  How she met Harold, how she came to know Harold's son David who has since died and her relationship with him, and her fond memories of the years she has spent at her beach house sea garden in Embleton Bay. Most important for Queenie though is unburdening herself of one particular event which had an impact on the rest of her life.

As Queenie shares her story, periodic postcards arrive at the hospice from Harold as he continues his journey to see Queenie one last time.

For readers of Joyce's earlier book, there are many new revelations to experience through Queenie. Reflective in tone, there is sadness, but also humor to be found.  I especially loved the descriptions of her life and solitude living by the sea and tending her garden.The author has created a cast of interesting and quirky characters from the hospice where Queenie now resides. She skillfully tells the final stories of others who are dying in a respectful manner as well.  The story is not written in traditional letter format, but nonetheless packs an emotional punch.  I'm not sure this novel will make my tops list for 2015, but it is still a very good story. I would recommend reading Harold's story first though, if you have not already done so.

4/5 stars
(eGalley)

21 comments:

  1. I want to read both of these books. The Harold Fry book was recommended highly by one of my friends from book club. She told us, "It's not a mystery, but...".

    ReplyDelete
  2. I still haven't read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but you have revived my interest! And now, another perspective in this new novel...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I didn't realize this book is related to Harold Fry. I need to read both of them!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have this one waiting for me on my kindle. I loved Harold Fry, so am really looking forward to Queenie's side of the story!

    ReplyDelete
  5. So.... I need to read "Harold Fry" first? Because I have it on my shelf--- in my TBR pile. I can do it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think you have to read Harold Fry first, but it would be advisable since there are some things in this book that would be spoilers for Harold Fry.

      Delete
  6. I am anxious to read this as I loved Harold Fry!

    ReplyDelete
  7. That does sound like a good story.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I loved Harold Fry, so will add this to my list. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I read and loved Harold's story so I am sure I will pick up this book.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just, two seconds ago, read another review of this book. it's a sign! Must read!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I liked the first book better but for sure it is must reading for fans of the initial book.

    ReplyDelete
  12. loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage and currently thoroughly enjoying this one as well! Beautiful writing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm reading this now and loving every minute!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh this sounds lovely and sad at the same time. I'll have to look for The Unlikely Pilgrimage as I've missed that one and add both to the TBR. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I haven't heard nearly as much about this one as I did the Unlikely Pilgrimage. They both sound terrific.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like a beautifully sad book. I tend to like books like that because they are often so real and honest. Thanks for giving a heads up about this, haven't heard of it before.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I loved the Harold Fry book and would love to read this one too. This is the first I'm hearing about this book. It sounds great!

    ReplyDelete
  18. You've made me want to read both of them!

    ReplyDelete
  19. I have this one to be read soon. I loved Harold Fry so am looking forward to Queenie's story.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I listened to Harold Fry and didn't fall in love with it as so many others did. I think I'll give this one a try in the print format. You got my attention with, "I especially loved the descriptions of her life and solitude living by the sea and tending her garden." Sounds like my kind of book!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to visit and double thanks for any comments. If you ask a question in your comments, I will try to reply to it here, or by email if your settings allow me to do so. Thank again for visiting.

(I apologize for the word verification, spammers spoil it for all sadly.)