Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Renee at It’s Book Talk. Throwback Thursday was designed as an opportunity to share old favorites as well as older books in our TBR. As I started reviewing on Goodreads long before I started my blog, it seemed a great way of sharing my earlier reviews (which I hope have improved since the early days).
So this week I’m revisiting The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce – first reviewed in January 2015.
I loved The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry so I was looking forward to reading this. Although this was written after ‘Harold’ it is not a sequel but a companion piece as it tells Queenie’s side of the story.
As it had been a while since I read the first I thought that might be a problem as I couldn’t remember the first book in detail. I think in some ways that might have been a good thing especially towards the end where the two stories diverge.
This book is what is says on the cover, essentially the story of Queenie’s unrequited love for Harold Fry. Though given the pilgrimage he made for her, maybe not so unrequited after all. For those who have read ‘Harold’ you know the basic story, for those who haven’t the publishers blurb tells you all you need to know without spoiling the enjoyment.
Having read both books I think on balance I love Queenie’s story more. She is a much fuller rounded character than Harold as she exposes herself to us more, also seeing the other characters from ‘Harold’ described in Queenie’s version seems to make them more real and 3 dimensional. The other main reason I think I liked this book more than the first is getting to meet all the characters in the Hospice. While much of the book deals with Queenie’s memories, the remainder deals with her present day existence in the hospice as she writes her letter to Harold. The other patients and the nuns are a real joy, so much so that I will admit to crying on more than one occasion when the ubiquitous undertakers van appeared. As an aside should I ever have the misfortune to need a Hospice I want one like St Bernadine’s.
This is an excellent read that is both joyful and sad, but never depressing given that it deals with aspects of life that touch us all, namely the nature of love, regret and ultimately death.