Skip to main content

The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessey

Just like the 600-mile long walk of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce’s companion novel The Love Song of Queenie Hennessy felt like a long wait. But like most things that are worth waiting for, so is this love story.

The beautifully story told from the perspective of Queenie Hennessy, the woman Harold Fry makes the journey for in The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Bed-ridden with cancer in a hospice, Queenie tells her own story and writes a letter to Harold as she awaits his arrival.

And what a story it is. Unrequited love. Tender moments, weaved with tragic. Just like in life, there are lots of ups and downs, but it’s our hope and adaptability that keeps us alive.

It’s comforting to see that Rachel Joyce hasn’t just recapped the entire previous novel in this companion book, but rather has kept us on our toes with a refreshing tale that is as original as it is plausible. The Love Song Of Queenie Hennessey brings together a book that is poignant, and at times funny.

“Harold, don’t take this wrongly, but if you are serious about your journey maybe you should concentrate on the miles and not waste precious time on postcards?" 
She admits that when she sent the letter to Harold Fry, it was to put her affairs in order – a reflective catharsis of sorts. She never expected him to reply, let alone take the aforementioned 600-mile long walk for her. The book is a confession of sorts to Harold, stories that she longed to tell him in the years gone, but never got a chance. Now, before she passes away, she wants him to know the truth.

“If I’m honest, and after all that is the point this time, one of the things that used to annoy me was when you got out of the car and told the pub landlords about our first meeting. Every time you said it, every time it made you laugh, I thought, Good grief, here we go again. Listening to you get all the details wrong, over and over, was like being married to you without the happy bits.”

Rachel Joyce has a knack for weaving words and emotions together with a powerful simplicity. I absolutely loved her book Perfect told from the point of view of a young child. She is able to tap into the voice of her narrators with such zest and believability that makes each story as wonderful and heartwarming as the next.

Reading several of Rachel Joyce’s books is unlike reading a collection by other authors –some of whom rhyme with metronomic repetition surrendering almost formulaic plotlines. Thankfully, Rachel Joyce surprises every time, and delights when you least expect her too. Each novel brings with it the lightness of well-placed chuckles, the gravity of a heavy heart, and a genuine desire to tell a story that transforms.

4.5 / 5 out of 5 Sukasa Stars
The Love Song Of Miss Queenie Hennessey by Rachel Joyce is published by Bond Streets Books, A Division of Random House Canada Limited, A Penguin Random House Company.

Review by
@ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle

Shilpa Raikar is also a social and creative strategist for Blink Advertising and contributes for