From the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold’s cross-country journey.
A runaway international bestseller, 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 goodbye. 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.
Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
“In the end, this lovely book is full of joy. Much more than the story of a woman’s enduring love for an ordinary, flawed man, it’s an ode to messy, imperfect, glorious, unsung humanity. . . . [Queenie’s] love song is for us. Thank you, Rachel Joyce.”—The Washington Post
“Destined to change your world. One can’t help but see life, and the end of it, differently after experiencing this novel. Full of wisdom and heart, it will overwhelm its readers with a deep sensitivity.”—Bookreporter
“[A] beguiling follow-up . . . In telling Queenie’s side of the story, Joyce accomplishes the rare feat of endowing her continuing narrative with as much pathos and warmth, wisdom and poignancy as her debut. Harold was beloved by millions; Queenie will be, too.”—Booklist (starred review)
“Delightful and dark . . . But Joyce is so deft that when the book is over and you close the cover, the darkness fades. What sticks with you is the light of Queenie’s unwavering love.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
“[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”—People
“Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”—The Guardian
“Joyce has a wonderfully evocative turn of phrase and like her other books this is a delightful read. . . . Uplifting and moving.”—Daily Express
“Joyce nicely calls the book a companion rather than a sequel. But The Love Song is bolder than a retread of the same material from another angle. . . . After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”—The Telegraph
“[Joyce] manages to both add depth to an already strong work and build something new and beautiful upon it.”—The A.V. Club
Joyce's bestselling novel, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, followed the journey of Harold, a retiree who chose to walk the entire length of England to reunite with an old friend. This novel focuses on the old friend in question: Queenie Hennessy, who's dying of cancer in a hospice in northern England. When she receives word that Harold's begun walking the 600 miles to see her, Queenie's apprehensive: they haven't seen each other in 20 years. As she begins to write in a long letter to Harold, readers see that their unorthodox friendship was far more complicated than Harold may think. Through Queenie's flashbacks, we see the beginnings of their friendship when they met as coworkers at the local brewery. We also learn new information about Queenie's secret friendship with Harold's teen son, David; the circumstances around David's tragic early death; and Queenie's long-hidden feelings for Harold. In the present day, Queenie's fellow patients in the hospice also take up the mantle of waiting for Harold, and some poignant and hilarious new bonds form. Fans of Harold's story will appreciate a chance to meet him again and hear his story from a new angle, and after a slow and slightly confusing start, even newcomers to Queenie and Harold's doomed love story will not be immune to its charms. A bittersweet final twist is a fitting cap to a tragic, touching tale.
I had read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I loved and highly recommended. The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy was the perfect conclusion to a wonderful story. Please read both in the proper order-you will be glad you did.
A love song for hennssey
Wow! Wonderfully written, great flow, a page turner. Loved the ending.
Such a beautifully written story.