Curl up with a good book

Book Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

Author: Rachel Joyce


Promotional Blurb: Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live.

My Thoughts: A lovely story that really resonated with me so soon after my very own camino pilgrimage. Rachel Joyce accurately captures the thoughts and feelings, and physical exertions related to a long walk, and builds a plausible human story around it.

So many of Harold’s experiences echoed mine – the people that moved in and out of my life on a daily basis during the walk, and the little, or lot, of their story that they shared. I also particularly enjoyed how he related to his environment and the varying doubts that overtook him during each day.

This is a gentle and touching read. It is not demanding or challenging but sweeps you up and carries you along as he takes step after step.

An amazing effort for a first novel and quite a personal experience for me. Highly recommended.

Rachel Joyce. Photo:

Author bio: Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (Doubleday 2012), Perfect (Doubleday 2013) and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (Doubleday 2014). 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 was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2012 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

Rachel moved to writing after a 20-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, the Royal Court, and Cheek by Jowl. She has written over 20 original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4 and major adaptations for the Classic Series, and Woman’s Hour). Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire. (Source:

Author blog or website:

Pages:  296

Published:  2012

Publisher: Penguin/Random House

Available from: Book Depository ($13.00)

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