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A runaway international best seller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed its unassuming hero on an incredible journey as he traveled the length of England on foot--a journey spurred by a simple letter from his old friend, Queenie Hennessy, writing from a hospice to say good-bye. Harold believed that as long as he kept walking, Queenie would live. What he didn't know was that his decision to walk had caused her both alarm and fear. How could she wait? What would she say? Forced to confront the past, Queenie realizes she must write again.
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. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years.
A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person's life.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Marjorie on 04-14-15
In Many Ways Beautiful, In Many Ways Tedious
I loved "The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" which is the prequel to this novel. Where I found Harold's adventures to be quirky, quaint and profound; I found Queenie's struggles to be almost equally tedious and full of restraint. This novel slowly (and I do mean slowly) tells the story of Queenie's love for Harold as well as the story of the secret that she has lived with since meeting Harold. Queenie is living in a hospice and, therefore, the reader also meets the other patients at the hospice and the caregivers who encourage and care for Queenie. It gently explores the experiences of patients facing end-of-life needs for closure and for companionship. It expresses the beauty and the kindness of the nuns and the other caregivers at the hospice. I enjoyed learning about Queenie's love and admired her restraint while loving Harold in quiet and simple ways. My complaints about this book are that it often felt tedious and maddeningly slow as it moved towards Queenie expressing her secret. In addition, some of the voices of particular patiients were loud and had a painful and sharp tone to them which detracted from the otherwise quiet and slow-moving novel. Perhaps some readers would find this slow movement beautiful, but I found myself feeling mired in the sadness and monotony of waiting. It's a toss-up for me whether I would recommend this book. If you need to know about why Harold is making his pilgrimage, well, then go ahead and read this. It just may make you cry.
15 of 15 people found this review helpful
By Mariange on 04-09-15
Not for the faint of heart
This well-written story, from the perspective of miss Queenie Hennessey is not for the faint of heart. However, those who allow themselves to take the journey with Miss Queenie Hennessey of reviewing her life as she lays in hospice care, Will share with her laughter, sadness, and the bigger questions of-life. Personally, this story brought up a lot of emotion for me as I too have gone through the experience of caring for someone I loved in their last days of their life at hospice. The author captured all the nuances of thar environment perfectly and also showed the love, fear, care, confusion, sadness and respect for life that one experiences when having a love one there. However, this story is so much more than that. It's a story about life, love with all its twists and turns, specifically that of miss Queenie Hennessey as she waits for Harold Fry to make his journey to see her after 20 years. Overall this was a great companion story to the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Frye. Queenie's story fills in some of the blanks that weren't developed in the first book and allows you to see her mind and heart.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful