Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Random House
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessey is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.
Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.
Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit of youth and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him-allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.
And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessey.
A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise- and utterly irresistible- storyteller.
“Oh, to be a pilgrim in yachting shoes and waxed cotton jacket, fueled only by a sudden burning need to save a dying friend. Harold Fry is infuriating, hilarious, and completely out of his depth, but I held my breath at his every blister and cramp and felt, as if by turning the pages, that I might help his impossible quest succeed. Marvelous!”—Helen Simonson, author of Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Rachel Joyce is an award-winning writer of more than twenty plays for BBC Radio 4. She started writing after a 20 year acting career performing lead roles for the Royal Shakespeare Company, and also winning multiple awards. Rachel Joyce lives in Gloucestershire on a farm with her family and is at work on her second novel.
Rachel Joyce’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Monday, July 2nd: Book Club Classics!
Tuesday, July 3rd: Alison’s Bookmarks
Thursday, July 5th: Literate Housewife
Friday, July 6th: Amused by Books
Monday, July 9th: A Bookworm’s World
Tuesday, July 10th: My Book Retreat
Wednesday, July 11th: Under My Apple Tree
Monday, July 16th: BookNAround
Tuesday, July 17th: Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, July 18th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, July 19th: Book Chatter
Monday, July 23rd: Sarah Reads Too Much
Tuesday, July 24th: Write Meg!
Wednesday, July 25th: Coffee and a Book Chick
Thursday, July 26th: It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Monday, July 30th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Tuesday, July 31st: Joyfully Retired
Thursday, August 2nd: A Musing Reviews
Monday, August 6th: Bibliophiliac
Wednesday, August 8th: Boarding in my Forties
Thursday, August 9th: Bibliosue
Monday, August 13th: The Picky Girl
Wednesday, August 15th: Caribousmom
Friday, August 17th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Monday, August 20th: The House of the Seven Tails
Tuesday, August 21st: She Treads Softly
Wednesday, August 22nd: Knowing the Difference
Wednesday, September 5th: Reading on a Rainy Day
Friday, September 7th: Chaotic Compendiums
TBD: Col Reads