The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce book review

Note: This is a spoiler free review!


Recently retired, sweet, emotionally numb Harold Fry is jolted out of his passivity by a letter from Queenie Hennessy, an old friend, who he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. She has written to say she is in hospice and wanted to say goodbye. Leaving his tense, bitter wife Maureen to her chores, Harold intends a quick walk to the corner mailbox to post his reply but instead, inspired by a chance encounter, he becomes convinced he must deliver his message in person to Queenie–who is 600 miles away–because as long as he keeps walking, Harold believes that Queenie will not die.

So without hiking boots, rain gear, map or cell phone, one of the most endearing characters in current fiction begins his unlikely pilgrimage across the English countryside. 

(I deleted some of the synopsis. I felt it said too much!)

1. IT

I remember hearing people rave about this a few years back and wanting to read it, but I never got around to it. I found it in a charity shop and snapped it up. I really love the font! The blurb is so unique. I don’t read many contemporaries.

1. writing

I love the style of writing. It glides along! It’s in third person and the descriptions are weaved in brilliantly well. I love that it switches between Harold’s and Maureen’s POV so you can get both’s perspective.

1. Plot

I love the plot premise. It’s a solid plot with little mysteries weaved in to keep you on tenterhooks. Admittedly, about midway, you’re waiting for the next thing to happen, but there’s so many curious things happening that it isn’t too much of a hardship. It has subtext, (my worst enemy), but even I understood that well.

1. char

The best part of this book. It has a fantastic array of characters. Harold and Maureen are the main two. Harold is so…English, take that from an English person. I was smiling all the way through because his little habits are so familiar! It was really fun to read, being English myself.

I think Maureen was my favourite character, at least the one I empathized with the most. She goes through an amazing journey herself.

1. ot

I picked this up after finishing The last star, quite a heavy, complex sci fi book. It was definitely the right choice. This book was like a palate cleanser, so light and relaxing and such a delight to read. I think I’m going to have to try out a few more contemporaries!

Was it worth the read? Yes

Would I re-read? Yes

Would I read this Author again? Yes

Flames: Flame 5 grey

*Clicking on the book image takes you to its book depository page. See here for more info.

5 thoughts on “The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce book review

  1. Booklighting 01/06/2016 / 10:22 am

    Love this – sounds like you’ve captured the book very well without giving too much away! I’ll definitely give this one a read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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