I think at the end I was holding my breath in an anticipation. Not for me, but for Queenie. I wanted her to be at peace, feel forgiven and be able to let go. At the same time I wanted her hopes and dreams to come true. For Henry to make one final gesture, which would be a signal or sign that he felt the same way. I didn’t expect the reality to be so cruel and yet it was completely realistic.
Queenie’s tale is one of death and one of a lonely life.
This is the unlikely and unexpected sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. After the commercial success of Harold’s story the odds were against the story of Queenie being just as successful, however that is exactly what happened.
Rachel Joyce has created two sides of the same story without the content being repetitive or boring. Instead, this one brings the first full circle. Although I would have to point out that each story is subjective and reflects a single persons experience, as opposed to it just being one big happy story.
I think the most vivid element and image that stood out for me wasn’t Queenie at all. It was the subtle message about forgetting the elderly, the sick and the terminally ill. How they become the rejects and the recluses of society in their last days, months and years. Hidden away in care homes or a hospice with only the carer or nursing staff to be with within their last hours.
The story is filled with a sense of guilt, sorrow, loneliness and longing. It is sad and yet at the same time a story filled with hope. The last wish of a dying woman, and whether or not it will be fulfilled.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.