When Queenie Hennessy 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 20 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 the story. She was wrong. It was the beginning.Told in simple, emotionally-honest prose, with a mischievous bite, this is a novel about the journey we all must take to learn who we are; it is about loving and letting go. And most of all it is about finding joy in unexpected places and at times we least expect.
©2014 Rachel Joyce (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks
I listened to The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry before listening to this story to remind me of the basis for the story, I loved that book - narrated by the fabulous Jim Broadbent, and this book read by Celia Imrie kept up the standard. It was a delight to be able to slot the incidents from Harold's journey into this book, seen from the other side. Celia Imrie did it proud, I loved the story, laughed and cried with Queenie, got cross on her behalf when she was 'taken for a ride', but loved her personality and character.
I hadn't discovered Rachel Joyce prior to my introduction to Harold Fry, and now feel that I would like to find more by this author.
This is a superb 'duet' of stories that has left me pondering and thinking about the characters long after I have pressed the 'off' button.
I loved the unlikely pilgramage of Harold Fry so bought this book as soon as it came out. I have listened to it in just a few days. It is very different to the first book but still very good. I found it quite a harrowing read, love and dying being big subjects that Rachel Joyce does an excellent job with. I am writing this shortly after finishing the book - I have to say the book has a lovely warmth but still left me feeling a very sad.
It was really interesting to see another side to all the main characters from the first book. As Rachel Joyce says this book is neither a sequel or prequel - it runs parallel to the original book.
Celia Imrie does a fantastic job of narrating this book - so much so I will look for her other performances too.
In summary a sad but excellent book that I am glad I read - it perfectly compliments the first book and like the first book it doesnt take the path of least resistance and makes the reader reflect on some of the really big issues for us all.
This book is an unmissable companion to ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’. I recommend listening to the latter first as it sets the scene for Queenie’s revelations. The Harold book is an actual journey that changes Harold’s life and Queenie’s is a journey of the soul through confession of her feelings. Both books will remain in my mind for a long time as they are so full of human feelings that moved me greatly. The two books were my companions for over 20 hours and I feel a sense of loss that I won’t hear more about Harold and Queenie’s lives. I got the impression from the Harold book that Queenie was a quiet, unassuming person with a dull life and so was pleased to learn of her colourful past and indomitable spirit. While Harold met a sequence of new people as he trudged North, Queenie’s world in the hospice is full of memorable characters given voice with wit and skill by the narrator Celia Imrie. A hospice setting sounds grim, but it’s not as there’s much laughter and excitement as the inhabitants plan for the imminent arrival of Harold.
Without giving anything away I found the ending heart-breaking.
These two books are among the best I have ever listened to and hearing them dramatized by two outstanding narrators added to the pleasure.
reflective, sad , warm
surprises, and filling in the story that Harold Fry didn't tell us
the voices of each and every character, I would never have made them so alive and real if I'd read it
yes, but if I say here it will give the story away, but I felt very very sad at the end
this was the saddest book I've ever read, I just couldn't stop reading it because I wanted it to be over, that wasn't because it was bad, it's brilliant, but it hurt so much. My husband read it at the same time I listened to it, and he felt the same. Don't try to read this if you're feeling low, but it's a wonderful story
This book about dying is surprisingly full of life and laughter. I really enjoyed getting to know Queenie's journey and her finding a way of letting go of the sad past and guilt that probably gave her cancer, letting go by writing down her experience in shorthand accompanied by a surreal guide who turns out to be made up in her head. It's so hard to let go, especially of the difficult and complex issues, such as death, suicide, drinking, depression, loss, love, she had to deal with it all and instead of facing them she decided to run away from them. In her final weeks she gets a chance to let go of her guilt by documenting her story and putting it on paper.
Sad and funny at the same time, great companion to Harold Fry's story. Loved it!
This duo of books form a joint story that I am sure I will reflect upon as I too grow older and think back upon my life and the twists and turns it has taken. Fortunately for me I found my true love later in life but I can so relate to Miss Queenie Hennessy's loss.
It is such a good description of life so well handled with humour and honesty and without being patronising
It has to be the fabulous Queenie
Her expressive reading adds a huge amount to my enjoyment of this book
If well done this would make the most wonderful film
"Excellent sequel to Harold Fry"
This is NOT an action thriller it is a quiet English book about quiet British people making their way in life (and death) - at times it is very sad but also has many good one liners from the characters in the Hospice.
A lovely narration really helps this be a good listen.
You probably want to listen to Harold Fry by the same author first but that isn't necessary.
"A worthy companion for "Harold Fry""
This was one of those beautiful, gentle listens that was a pure pleasure from start to finish. Rachel Joyce's writing style is very pleasing and Celia Imrie's narration is superb.
I already loved Harold, and this book lets the reader fall in love with Queenie.
I enjoyed the whole book, so there is no one particular scene.
I did find myself listening to it as often as possible.
Although this book stands up by itself, I would recommend reading "The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" first. That audiobook is narrated by Jim Broadbent and it's wonderful.
"A Quietly Beautiful Story"
This book brought me to a special place; a quiet hospice where people learn to live before they die. Queenie Hennessy, the woman many readers will have previously encountered as the woman Harold Fry sets out to visit on his walk across England, tells the story of their relationship from her perspective. She is a beautiful, realistic character who tells her story as she awaits the visit of the man she has quietly loved for most of her life.
The story is a parallel companion to that of Harold Fry's. The author notes specifically that it is neither a sequel nor a prequel. And she is right. I honestly did not want this tale to end. There were many times I waited in my car when I got to my destination just to hear a bit more. The writing was lovely and the narrator's voice clearly differentiated between the various characters and time frames. It is one of my all time favorite audible books.
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