The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

4.03 (12,654 ratings by Goodreads)
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From the author of the 2 million+ copy, worldwide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, an exquisite, funny and heartrending parallel story. 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 to him had explained she was dying from cancer. How can she wait? A new volunteer at the hospice suggests that Queenie should write a second letter; only this time she must tell Harold the truth. Composing this letter, the volunteer promises, will ensure Queenie hangs on. It will also atone for the secrets of the past. As the volunteer points out, 'It isn't Harold who is saving you. It is you, saving Harold Fry.' This is that letter. A letter that was never sent. Told in simple, emotionally-honest prose, with a mischievous bite, this is a novella about a woman who falls in love but chooses not to claim it. It is about friendship and kindness as well as the small victories that pass unrecorded. It is about the truth and the significance - the gentle heroism - of a life lived alone. Queenie thought her first letter would be the end of the story. She was wrong. It was just the beginning...show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 152 x 228 x 28mm | 479.99g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • DOUBLEDAY
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0857522760
  • 9780857522764
  • 42,377

About Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into 34 languages. Rachel Joyce was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' in December 2012 and shortlisted for the 'Writer of the Year' 2014. She is also the author of the short story, A Faraway Smell of Lemon and the forthcoming short story collection, A Snow Garden & Other Stories and a new novel for 2016, The Music Shop. She is the award-winning writer of over 30 original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4. Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.show more

Review quote

"5 stars" The Telegraph "Touching ... a quiet, gentle, moving novel. Joyce's writing has a simplicity that sings and she captures hope best of all." The Observer "If you loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, you'll be thrilled with this sequel." The Sun "Invest in a box of Kleenex before you start this tear-jerker - [one of] this month's big reads." Women & Home "A beautiful story which will grip you, make you laugh and cry, uplift your spirit and leave you feeling profoundly grateful and changed by the reading experience ... This is a wonderful book about loss, redemption and joy - and I give it my own prize." -- Bel Mooney The Daily Mailshow more

Review Text

"5 stars" Bel Mooney The Telegraphshow more

Rating details

12,654 ratings
4.03 out of 5 stars
5 34% (4,260)
4 42% (5,346)
3 19% (2,403)
2 4% (494)
1 1% (151)

Our customer reviews

"If only memory were a library with everything stored where it should be. If only you could walk to the desk and say to the assistant, I'd like to return the painful memories about .... and take out some happier ones, please" The Lovesong of Miss Queenie Hennessy is the third novel by actress, radio playwright and author, Rachel Joyce, and is a companion volume to her first novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Queenie Hennessy is dying. When she hears that Harold Fry is walking from Devon to Berwick-upon-Tweed to save her, that all she has to do is wait, she is transported back twenty years to Kingsbridge, to the brewery, to her relationship with Harold Fry. Her guilt about the events of that time has haunted her ever since, but a volunteer nun at St Bernadine's Hospice convinces her to write to Harold Fry, to confess the truth, finally, before she dies. As Queenie fills her notebook, the events that led to her departure from Kingsbridge are revealed: some things, readers of Harold Fry will have suspected; others, they will have wondered about; and some will come as a complete surprise. Interspersed with her confessions are descriptions of Queenie's Sea Garden and bits of everyday life in a hospice, some of which are hilarious (nutritional protein shakes that taste like wet cardboard, diversional therapy ideas, knitted syringe-driver covers), others, like the inevitable deaths, sad. Joyce gives the reader a cast of quirky characters: naive nuns (and some very wise ones); a cranky Scot; a foul-mouthed woman who loves hats and entering competitions; a one-armed man constantly in receipt of parcels and an inexperienced counselor. She gives Queenie many words of wisdom: "We write ourselves certain parts and then keep playing them as if we have no choice"; "I found out what was right only by getting it wrong"; "Sometimes people judge their happiness by the price they have to pay for it. The more they've spent, the happier they think they will be" and "...sometimes you cannot clear the past completely. You must live alongside your sorrow" are a few examples. Joyce has, of course, ensured that the events of this novel dovetail perfectly with Harold Fry, and while Queenie Hennessy can be read independently of the earlier book, readers will find that the experience is much enhanced by reading Harold Fry first. Once again, the illustrations by Andrew Davidson are truly charming. Fans of Harold Fry will not be disappointed: if anything, Queenie Hennessy surpasses that book with its characters and also some lovely descriptive prose: "I have noticed the rain clouds drawing over the earth like a slate tablecloth and the wind beating at the black sea and tossing the gulls up and down like twists of white paper" and "The small leaves on the tree outside my window have stretched into green hands". A delightful read.show more
by Marianne Vincent
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