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14 Works 9,431 Members 849 Reviews 7 Favorited

About the Author

Rachel Joyce is an author who was born in London in 1962. She started her career writing plays for the BBC Radio Four. She was part of the duo that won the 2007 Tinnis wood Award for "To Be A Pilgrim". She was longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize with her debut novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of show more Harold Fry. She later won the New Writer of the Year Award in 2012 from the National Book Awards for this same title. Her other works include: Perfect, The Love Song of Miss. Queenie Hennessy, A Snow Garden and Other Stories and The Music Shop. (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Includes the name: Rachel Joyce


Works by Rachel Joyce


2012 (50) 2013 (59) 2014 (37) 2015 (36) audio (51) audiobook (73) book club (66) British (75) British fiction (32) British literature (46) cancer (122) contemporary (57) contemporary fiction (75) death (60) ebook (78) England (361) family (61) fiction (900) friendship (109) grief (165) historical fiction (53) hospice (37) journey (95) Kindle (92) library (31) literary fiction (47) love (48) marriage (156) music (56) novel (93) own (38) pilgrimage (96) read (99) read in 2012 (37) relationships (121) romance (35) suicide (47) to-read (792) UK (34) walking (132)

Common Knowledge

Country (for map)
England, UK
London, England, UK
Places of residence
Gloucestershire, England, UK
Alexander Cochran (C&W Agency)




Something of a modern day 'Pilgrim's Progress', this book describes the journey of Harold Fry, on an unintended journey - a hike even - to see his old collegue Queenie, who has written to him from the hospice where she is seeing out her days. This journey is intended to bring her hope and the faith to conquer her cancer. A journey which Harold makes without even having meant to set forth, brings him in turn hope, despair, joy, renewed faith in humanity, and an opportunity to confront his past, and the emotional pain he has long buried. At times moving, sometimes thought-provoking, occasionally boring, this book is worth reading. It may make you think about missed opprtunities and the possibility we all have to change, or you may be relieved to have reached the last page. I'm not quite sure how it is with me… (more)
Margaret09 | 460 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
An enjoyable read. Marjorie Benson's childhood was a difficult one, and she's clearly a damaged individual, who after a final straw of humiliation is inspired, even though middle-aged, without suitable skills, and fat, to set off to New Caledonia on a reckless mission to find an undiscovered species of golden beetle. Where, after a chapter of misadventure she has the assistance of flighty, attractive, young, undereducated Enid Pretty. They engage in a long series of misadventures, not helped by her bizarre stalker Mr Mundic, a traumatised former PoW. They live in primitive conditions neither of them has any experience of, over which they bond, and learn to care for one another. While the journey of self-discovery may be predictable, Miss Benson’s Beetle is a novel that offers real insight into the lives of women, the value of friendship and the lasting effects of war. It's a fun read, with serious undertones.… (more)
Margaret09 | 74 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
I read the first book in this trilogy, about Harold Fry's unlikely pilgrimage when it first came out, and disliked it at that time for being , as I saw it, fey and sentimental. So I didn't read the second book, abut Queenie. But Rachel Joyce came to our indie bookshop to talk about this, her last book in the trilogy, so of course I went, and was totally disarmed by her warmth, wit and enthusiasm, and started reading in a more positive frame of mind. It gently pulls you into Maureen's world of limited horizons, somewhat adrift, and ongoing grief about her son David who committed suicide twenty years ago, and her decision to visit Queenie's memorial garden on the Northumbrian coast, because it also a memorial to her son there. A gentle account of her difficult and - for her- courageous journey: and of her gradual acceptance of a woman totally unlike herself, who had befriended her husband on his journey, and of her son's death. I say gradual- perhaps it was rather sudden really. But this story is an unexpectedly rewarding and powerful read.… (more)
Margaret09 | 20 other reviews | Apr 15, 2024 |
Miss Benson's Beetle is a great novel about unlikely friendship and queer-platonic love. Enid and Margery go through such vast changes over the novel to become their true selves, and with that, accept a new kind of platonic love.

I will admit, I had a hard time reading this story, mostly because I was in a reading slump, but once I convinced myself to pick it up, it was hard to put back down.

I didn't like the stalker part of the story. It was interesting, but it made me uncomfortable at times. Mundic is a very entitled and troubled man.

Overall, I did like the book.
… (more)
BarnesBookshelf | 74 other reviews | Apr 10, 2024 |



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Associated Authors

Maria Andreas Translator, Übersetzer
Jim Broadbent Narrator
Andrew Davidson Illustrator
Janneke Zwart Translator
Claire Ward Designer



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