Book reviews

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

It is 1950, two unlikely women set off on a hare-brained adventure to the other side of the world to try and find a beetle, and in doing so discover friendship and how to be their best of themselves. This is quintessential Joyce: at once poignant and playful, with huge heart and the same resonance, truth and lightness of touch as her phenomenally successful debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.

Britain, post Second World War. In a moment of madness Margery Benson abandons her sensible job and advertises for an assistant to accompany her on an expedition. She is going to travel to the other side of the world to search for a beetle that may or may not exist.

Enid Pretty, in pink hat and pompom sandals, is not the companion she had in mind. But together they will find themselves drawn into an ad- venture that exceeds all expectations. They must risk everything, break all the rules, but at the top of a red mountain they will discover who they truly are, and how to be the best of themselves.

This is a novel that is less about what can be found than the belief it might be found; it is an intoxicating adventure story but it is also about what it means to be a woman and a tender exploration of a friendship that defies all boundaries.

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MY REVIEW 

Miss Margery Benson is single and alone, she’s a domestic science teacher, but one day a classroom drawing of her is the last straw. Distraught she leaves, taking with her the deputy’s new boots.

She decides it’s time to fulfill her dream of travelling to New Caledonia to find the elusive Gold Flower Beetle.she advertises for an assistant.  Being let down by her chosen applicant she offers the position to Enid.

They spend weeks on about to Australia as the first leg of the journey….with sea sickness and other mishaps and drama the two women get to know each other….a little…

Oh my heart…l. truly love this book…from the slightly staid Margery to the brash Enid and their slowly building friendship. It’s a tale of following your dreams regardless of the cost and the beauty of true friendship. There’s a real sense of adventure in the search for a golden gem of a beetle. It has a sense of wonder and danger, it’s heartbreaking and yet wondrous too. I loved every single second. My favourite novel of the year. 

While I had an ecopy of this beautiful tale for the blog tour, I have also preordered a hardback copy too as this really is a book to keep and treasure.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/2CpUrs7

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty -six languages and two are in development for film.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the CommonwealthBook prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. 

Rachel was awarded the Specsaver National Book Awards New Writer Of The Year in December 2012 and shortlisted for the UK Author of the Year 2014.

She has also written over twenty original afternoon plays and adaptations of the classics for BBC Radio 4, including all the Bronte novels. She moved to writing after a long career as an actor, performing leading roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and Cheek by Jowl. She lives with her family in Gloucestershire.