Review: Rachel Joyce’s ‘The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy’

March 27, 2015 12:13 PM

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Review: Rachel Joyce’s ‘The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy’

Rachel Joyce offers something rare in The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. The book is neither a prequel nor a sequel but a companion book to her moving 2012 debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. In that first novel, Harold Fry, a retired Englishman, received a letter from a former colleague, Queenie Hennessy, who told him she was dying of cancer. Harold set out to send a bland reply but walked past one mailbox after another, finally deciding instead to trek on foot the full 600 miles to her hospice. Along the way, he alerted Queenie of his plans, sending a note that read: “I am very sorry. … Wait for me.”

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is told from Queenie’s perspective as she awaits Harold’s arrival. Like Harold’s book, Queenie’s can stand on its own as a warm, thoughtful tale about love, regret and redemption. But each novel adds depth and dimension to the other.

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