Catalogue Record details
The love song of Miss Queenie Hennessy
Publication year: 2015
Media class: Paperback
Publisher: Black Swan
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 again; only this time she must tell Harold the truth. Composing this new message, 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 novel about the journey we all must take to learn who we are; it is about loving and letting go.
Our book group had previously read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which we felt was essential to get the most out of this book. It tells the story of a woman who falls in love with a man she meets at work, although he has no knowledge of this, and her fantasies about what life might be like if he were not married to someone else. She writes to tell him that she is dying of cancer and is persuaded by one of the nuns in the hospice to tell him the whole truth of her feelings for him. The overall feeling was that this book felt somewhat contrived, making use of the author's personal experiences whilst not necessarily creating a satisfactory narrative. Queenie comes across as an intelligent woman whose life could have been so much more fruitful than it was with many missed opportunities. The average score was 7/10.
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