The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
Ok, so for me, this is a companion novel to what I believe was probably the most original book released in years; that was “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. This new story is from the perspective of Queenie Hennessy, the lady that made Harold Fry walk all those miles. You don't need to have read the Harold Fry book before reading this one, but obviously it is very highly recommended, and it’s there to read once you have read this.
I found it fascinating learning about Harold and Queenie's past and some of what I learnt shocked me but, it also made a lot of sense and the two novels tie in with each other perfectly. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Queenie's childhood, the days she spent working at the brewery, and her life post-Harold, I also really enjoyed reading the present day scenes set in St Bernadine's Hospice. Naturally, there are some very sad moments, but there are also a lot of light ones too. The cast in the Hospice are a delightful bunch, especially Finty, who I adored. She is the provider of many genuine `laugh out loud' moments and one of those characters who I had no trouble in visualizing. We learn from Queenie’s past that she was a sassy, brave and caring woman, one who had been through such a lot and one who carries around with her an awful lot of guilt and sorrow.
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is a powerful story full of both love and sadness, it also completes the story that was told in the Harold Fry book. The Harold Fry book does end as you would expect a novel to end, it’s just that I/you wanted to know that bit more, so to allow you more insight into the woman of Harold’s destination, it allows you to see that even though people may now live in a nursing home, they didn't always live in a nursing home! It's engaging, very emotional, and it’s a fantastic story that you won't forget in a hurry. I would highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone, as there is bound to be something in there that will strike a chord with every reader. I predict big things for this novel, and I really hope it gets the recommendation and praise that both it, and it's hugely talented author, Rachel Joyce, both deserve.
As you would possibly expect after reading this review, it has to be a:
10 out of 10.
Review by Carl Marsh
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