Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him—allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy. (from Goodreads)

My Thoughts

Little did I know when I started this book how much I was going to enjoy it. Who couldn’t help but fall in love with Harold Fry? He starts his journey with such a simple intent, not yet knowing what this path would help him discover. The author tells a fine tale of the people he meets along the way, his wife Maureen back at home, and finally at the end of the road, Queenie. I laughed, I cried, I cheered for both Harold and Maureen.

This book certainly stands out as one of the best I have read this year and a new all time favorite. I love the message of hope, redemption, dreams and perseverance. This is our first novel from Ms. Joyce and all I can says is Wow! I am looking forward to more from this very talented author.

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