Harold's retired life in a small English village is little more than similar days running into one another. His wife usually tells him what to do, and how he did it wrong. He notices his wife's pain in not seeing their son, but he never talks to her about it. Not much changes until one day he gets a brief, typed letter from Queenie, a woman he used to work with twenty years ago. She writes to tell him goodbye, as she is reaching the end of her battle with cancer. Harold writes a brief, but friendly, note in return. When he goes out to the post box to mail his letter, he decides to walk a little farther to the next one. Before long, he decides that he isn't going to mail his letter, he is going to bring it to Queenie himself. So, Harold Fry sets off on a six hundred mile walk to say goodbye, with nothing more than the clothes on his back and the yachting shoes on his feet.
Something in this novel made me think of Forrest Gump or Olive Kitteridge. Simple, beautiful, and touching, this story is full of human moments that many of us take for granted.
It's as much about Harold Fry, his flaws and his self-discovery, as it is about the different people he meets on his journey. He inherently believes in the good of people, and very rarely do they disappoint him. I couldn't help but see myself as a cynic, as I have long since lost my faith in humanity. Harold reminded me that there is good in people, even when they aren't necessarily making the right choices.
Probably my favorite part of the story is that of Harold's wife, Maureen. She has her own journey, and her own awakening, without which I'm sure the novel wouldn't be complete.
This was not an action-packed thriller, or a sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat courtroom drama, but there was something about this book that called to me and I couldn't put it down. The writing was was extraordinary.
I did gasp at one point...and I wouldn't dare tell you why.
There are several people I know who are going to love this book as much as I did...I think I might just walk it over to them.
Read An Excerpt
About the Book:
About the Author: (from publisher)
Rachel Joyce, has written over twenty original afternoon plays for BBC Radio 4, and has created major adaptations for the Classic series and Woman’s Hour, as well as a TV drama adaptation for BBC2. In 2007 she won the Tinniswood Award for Best Radio Play. Joyce moved to writing after a twenty-year career in theatre and television, performing leading roles for the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, The Royal Court and Cheek by Jowl; and winning a Time Out Best Actress Award and the Sony Silver. She currently lives in Gloucestershire with her family and is at work on her second novel.
TLC Book Tours for inviting me to host a stop on the tour for THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMMAGE OF HAROLD FRY. Please visit the official tour page for more information and reviews.
**TLC and Random House have also asked me to host a giveaway for ONE copy of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY by Rachel Joyce. See next post to enter!