This is the companion novel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. In the first novel, Harold is spurred to walk the length of the country after a letter from an old colleague with terminal cancer. Harold drops everything to go and see her, and along the way ponders the errors of his life, coming to new understandings about love, his family and himself.
Queenie Hennessey is the woman who wrote the letter, and waited.
So now we have the other half of the story.
Queenie has been in love with Harold for many years. Although tragic circumstances pushed her to leave the brewery where they worked together many years ago, she never forgot Harold, nor the tragic death of his son.
But Queenie has secrets and now that Harold is coming, she needs to put them to rest. A nun at the hospice she is in encourages her to write down everything she wanted to say to Harold but couldn’t (both emotionally and physically – Queenie appears to have had a tumour removed from her throat). Like the previous novel, this novel too looks at coming to terms with the past and how a journey can assist us to do that. Sometimes, the greatest journey’s occur without us going anywhere.
This novel has the same charm as the celebrated The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry although the pace is a little slower. But persevere, there are a few interesting moments at the end that are worth getting to.