The Lovesong of Miss Queenie Hennessy is the companion or more like the flip side novel to the internationally acclaimed The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Harold Fry is walking across England to see his old friend Queenie Hennessy, who is dying of cancer and holding on, to see him one last time. I know this sounds like a depressing story about old, sick people, who don’t know how to use public transport, but it’s not about that at all! This is poignant tale about a journey of love, loss, betrayal, forgiveness and everything beautiful about being human.
On the surface so much of this tale seems to be about Queenie waiting for Harold to confess his love for her. Instead the novel digs so much deeper into the grey areas in and around love and friendship, looking at where dislike and hate fits into these feelings we have for other people. Every person who reads this story about love and friendship will find a moment to relate to. Where the way you or I felt about someone could not fit into a box with a label. Those relationships that were a journey of discovery that might have redirected the path we originally planned to take.
Letters are often written to create closure around events or feelings or unfinished business as it is so often called. Asking forgiveness or confessing the truth usually allows the heart the opportunity to heal and be at peace. This was the aim when Queenie Hennessy wrote that first letter to Harold, but instead of it creating closure, it opened a new chapter in their journey.
This is unabashedly a love song about two people, who never quite got to love each other fully. A little bit sad, but in the end I breathed a sigh of relief, in spite of the unpredictable ending. Beautifully written by the award winning Rachel Joyce, who clearly lived every emotion and nuance of this intimate relationship. Worth every minute spent turning these pages. Yay! For Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy. They made me want to fall in love all over again!