The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy is the follow-up/companion story of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye, both by Rachel Joyce. I read about Harold Frye’s journey early in 2014 on the recommendation of my mother-in-law and found it to be a bittersweet story of a man coming to terms with his broken, beautiful life as he walks across England to see his old friend, Queenie, who is sick and in hospice. I loved it and recommended it to one of my best friends, who also enjoyed it. I knew Joyce had written the companion story about Queenie, and I snatched it up immediately when I saw it sitting on the shelf at the library, assuming I would love it just as much.
Well, I didn’t. I certainly liked it, but I found this story dragged a bit for me. I also got a bit burned out with the way it seemed every chapter ended with some kind of ominous emotional cliffhanger. Nothing really flowed and and I only found myself invested in the story in fits and starts. I think it also didn’t help that I enjoyed Harold as a character more than Queenie. Harold’s story was, ultimately, one of hope. I found Queenie’s life to be sad and depressing. That left me a bit less invested.
All that said, I am glad I read it, as it does complete the entire story as a whole. I’d recommend it to someone who has read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye, simply because it ties everything up. I’d also let a potential reader know that Queenie’s story lacks a bit more heart than Harold’s.
Up next: The Shore by Sara Taylor. I somehow let this book sit around for weeks, and now it is due back to the library in 2 days! Gotta get to reading… now!