If you read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry you must read this book. I wouldn't call it Part Two but rather a Companion to Harold's story. If you haven't read The Pilgrimage, don't let that hold you back from reading Queenie. It's a book that can stand on its own quite easily.
I didn't absolutely love The Pilgrimage, though I liked it well enough, but I did love Queenie's Love Song. It answers so many of the questions I was left with when Harold's pilgrimage ended.
Queenie has cancer and is in a hospice when she learns that Harold Fry is walking from his home in southwest England to see her in northeast England. A nurse encourages Queenie to write him letters to help fill the time and to tell him why she left 20 years ago.
Queenie's descriptions of Harold and what it was about him that caused her to fall in love with such an ordinary man are reaffirming to me of my love for the ordinary people in my own life and helped me appreciate how extraordinary those people really are.
I liked Queenie's description of her boss at the brewery: "It's a shame short men don't wear heels; it would save the world a lot of trouble." And the boss's secretary: "She was a slight person, quietly spoken, but her breasts were so disproportionately gigantic that no matter how much one tried to appreciate something else about her, her rather ordinary mouth, for instance, or her thin curtain of hair, your eyes kept forgetting about thos bits and landing slap bang back on her bosom. It was the same for everyone. The men had full-on conversations with them."
When I read a book, I like to highlight passages so I can go back later and reread them. It helps to recall to mind other parts of the book and its general movement. Sometimes I mark just a few, or none at all. I marked quite a few in this book and I've already enjoyed reading through them a couple of times. I marvel at Joyce's writing - straight forward yet beautiful. I look forward to reading more of her work. I'm even considering a reread of The Unlikely Pilgrimage. I think I'll enjoy it much more now than I did the first time.
I highly recommend The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy. Loved it!
Closing note: I just love that Queenie's full name has 3 "double letters" in it. Include the 'Miss' and there are four.
* I received a copy of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy from NetGalley and Random House in exchange for my review. No other compensation was received.