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The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy Audiobook

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel

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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, March 2015 - As a huge Rachel Joyce fan, I was so excited to listen to her next book, but I wasn't sure I wanted to hear Queenie's side of the story. I knew it would be heart wrenching, but also it had remained a sort of lovely, mysterious foil to Harold's grueling journey. So I was surprised to find that there was so much richness up at Queenie's end. As in her other books, Joyce captures a diverse and widely representative sliver of humanity that almost feels reckless, and some of the most satisfying parts of the book come as she identifies those moment of levity and abandon that might come at the closing of life. The marvelous British actress Celia Imrie captures all the myriad personalities that people the home, breathing life into so many people with very little of it left. —Emily, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

From the best-selling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry comes an exquisite love story about Queenie Hennessy, the remarkable friend who inspired Harold's cross-country journey.

A runaway international best seller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry followed its unassuming hero on an incredible journey as he traveled the length of England on foot--a journey spurred by a simple letter from his old friend, Queenie Hennessy, writing from a hospice to say good-bye. Harold believed that as long as he kept walking, Queenie would live. What he didn't know was that his decision to walk had caused her both alarm and fear. How could she wait? What would she say? Forced to confront the past, Queenie realizes she must write again.

In this poignant parallel story to Harold's saga, acclaimed author Rachel Joyce brings Queenie Hennessy's voice into sharp focus. Setting pen to paper, Queenie makes a journey of her own, a journey that is even bigger than Harold's. One word after another, she promises to confess long-buried truths--about her modest childhood, her studies at Oxford, the heartbreak that brought her to Kingsbridge and to loving Harold, her friendship with his son, the solace she has found in a garden by the sea. And, finally, the devastating secret she has kept from Harold for all these years.

A wise, tender, layered novel that gathers tremendous emotional force, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy underscores the resilience of the human spirit, beautifully illuminating the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person's life.

©2015 Rachel Joyce (P)2015 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"If you enjoyed Harold’s odyssey, you will adore this book. A page into this tender tale and it is clearly the perfect companion piece to the original story of Harold Fry.... Rachel Joyce fleshes out the joyous woman who inspired his epic journey." (Daily Express)

"A beautiful story which will grip you, make you laugh and cry, uplift your spirit and leave you feeling profoundly grateful and changed by the reading experience...a wonderful book about loss, redemption and joy." (Daily Mail)

"Touching...[a] quiet, gentle, moving novel.... Joyce's writing...has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all." (The Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (770 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 04-14-15
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 04-14-15 Member Since 2016

    Life's good when I am listening to a great book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "In Many Ways Beautiful, In Many Ways Tedious"

    I loved "The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry" which is the prequel to this novel. Where I found Harold's adventures to be quirky, quaint and profound; I found Queenie's struggles to be almost equally tedious and full of restraint. This novel slowly (and I do mean slowly) tells the story of Queenie's love for Harold as well as the story of the secret that she has lived with since meeting Harold. Queenie is living in a hospice and, therefore, the reader also meets the other patients at the hospice and the caregivers who encourage and care for Queenie. It gently explores the experiences of patients facing end-of-life needs for closure and for companionship. It expresses the beauty and the kindness of the nuns and the other caregivers at the hospice. I enjoyed learning about Queenie's love and admired her restraint while loving Harold in quiet and simple ways. My complaints about this book are that it often felt tedious and maddeningly slow as it moved towards Queenie expressing her secret. In addition, some of the voices of particular patiients were loud and had a painful and sharp tone to them which detracted from the otherwise quiet and slow-moving novel. Perhaps some readers would find this slow movement beautiful, but I found myself feeling mired in the sadness and monotony of waiting. It's a toss-up for me whether I would recommend this book. If you need to know about why Harold is making his pilgrimage, well, then go ahead and read this. It just may make you cry.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariange 04-09-15
    Mariange 04-09-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Not for the faint of heart"

    This well-written story, from the perspective of miss Queenie Hennessey is not for the faint of heart. However, those who allow themselves to take the journey with Miss Queenie Hennessey of reviewing her life as she lays in hospice care, Will share with her laughter, sadness, and the bigger questions of-life. Personally, this story brought up a lot of emotion for me as I too have gone through the experience of caring for someone I loved in their last days of their life at hospice. The author captured all the nuances of thar environment perfectly and also showed the love, fear, care, confusion, sadness and respect for life that one experiences when having a love one there. However, this story is so much more than that. It's a story about life, love with all its twists and turns, specifically that of miss Queenie Hennessey as she waits for Harold Fry to make his journey to see her after 20 years. Overall this was a great companion story to the unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Frye. Queenie's story fills in some of the blanks that weren't developed in the first book and allows you to see her mind and heart.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily - Audible NJ, United States 03-04-15
    Emily - Audible NJ, United States 03-04-15 Member Since 2010

    As an Audible Editor I listen for a living! British classics, YA novels, speculative fiction, and anything quirky, fascinating, or heart-wrenching.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thanks, Rachel Joyce, for making me cry... again."

    As a huge Rachel Joyce fan (both her works haunted me in the best way possible) I was so excited to listen to her next book. But, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear Queenie’s side of the story. I knew it would be a hard one to hear unfold; but also it had remained a sort of lovely, blank, mysterious foil to Harold’s grueling journey. So I was surprised to find that there was so much richness up at Queenie’s end of England while she waits for his arrival. As in her other books, Joyce captures a diverse and widely representative sliver of humanity in a way that almost feels recklessly joyful, and some of the most satisfying parts of the book come as she identifies those moment of levity and abandon that might come at the closing of life. One of my favorite parts is when the hospice inmates are discussing what music to select for their funerals: one of the characters proclaims “no one’s gonna shed a tear for me… When I go you can stick a match under me and turn on the radio.” The marvelous British actress Celia Imrie captures all the myriad personalities that people the home, breathing life into so many people with very little of it left. And in giving voice to the dying, she proves so clearly that waiting is as much a journey as any that one might take on foot.

    15 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micher Falmouth, Nova Scotia Canada 05-15-15
    Micher Falmouth, Nova Scotia Canada 05-15-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Brava! Brava, to the author and narrator!"

    I loved The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, but Queenie surpassed it. This quiet, persistent story under-struck with vibrant characters who were brought to life by Embrie's vocal skills, gave me layer upon layer of beauty and wonder. The narrative surprised at every turn-- even right into the final chapter.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anastasia Peachtree City, GA United States 03-12-15
    Anastasia Peachtree City, GA United States 03-12-15 Member Since 2013

    Reading Mom

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    "Better Than the Story of Harold Frye!"

    This story was meant to be a compliment to the story of Harold Frye's journey, but it is really so much more! Queenie's narrative takes the reader on a wondrous trip back in time as we see a different view of some familiar events and gain insights to other significant events that affect the entire storyline. Excellent story and the narration was perfect. I do wish that the bad language could be avoided so that my young teen nieces could enjoy these stories, though.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 05-29-15
    Mark Waltham, MA, United States 05-29-15 Member Since 2010

    MTF

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A lttle disappointed after Harold Fry"

    After loving the Harold Fry book, and seeing the very high listener ratings, I expected to love this novel. I didn't. I liked it enough, but it did not compare to the The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. This new novel really had three stories. One, there was Queenie in her hospice. I never felt connected enough to the people there or the place to really get drawn into that part of her world. And then there were the flashbacks of Queenie's relationship with Harold Fry. I loved those at first, but I never quite believed that she could be so satisfied with her life of unrequited love, so it became too much. Finally, there was the story of Queenie's relationship with Harold's son. This was by far my favorite part of this novel. This was what I has expected, but it was only about a third of the novel. Even though I did not love this book, I am glad that I read it. I would not recommend this novel unless you read Harold Fry first. Not sure it would stand on its own.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    3xcharm 08-23-15
    3xcharm 08-23-15
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    "Holy cow...that was a whole lot of amazing!"
    Where does The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This one is a truly dark horse and it is one of the top five books I've ever heard. I'm sad I can only give it 5 stars.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy?

    Chapter 107 was amazing--it hit me right in the core of my being. And, the last chapter--wow!


    What does Celia Imrie bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Nuance and life!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    In theory yes (although in practicality an impossibility). In fact, it's the first book that I've ever wanted to start listening to from the beginning upon completion.


    Any additional comments?

    It is truly a companion piece to The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. I liked that one and when I stumbled upon The Love Story of Miss. Queenie Hennessy I thought I'd give it a whirl. However, after listening to it, it made me *love* The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and want to give it another listen so I can see if with fresh eyes. The last chapter was jaw dropping... I loved, loved, loved this book! It was so incredibly simple with its universal truths. (I feel like there's really another book there from David's perspective...I can only hope.)

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon Pittaway 05-06-15
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    "Beautifully read"

    Celia Imrie did a great job, in my view, in reading this book. The characters came alive. The story itself felt very drawn out towards the end and I felt it could have been edited more tightly.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    b 04-09-15
    b 04-09-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Beautiful"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book because it is such a beautiful story. Well written and well read.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy?

    There were so many memorable moments....Queenie's disclosure of her last moments with David, Finty's death, and so many others.


    What about Celia Imrie’s performance did you like?

    Celia Imrie has a good voice that suited the character of Queenie and was able to vary it well for other characters too.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It touched me. I will remember it.


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry first.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lori Michele Kelley 01-30-16 Member Since 2016

    As long as I have my Audible, I'm content.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gentle story about a gentle woman"

    When I heard that this book was out, Queenie's side of the Harold Fry story initially didn't sound like it would very interesting, but I'm so glad I listened to it. It's one of those stories that is impossible to talk about without giving away the new bits about the friendship that are slowly revealed. But I can say that I loved hearing about her garden and the other patients in the hospice. It's one of those stories, that while poignant and sad, is also uplifting and hopeful. If you, like me, are worried that it might change the feeling you were left with about Harold in his story, it doesn't. It takes what you know to a deeper level. It's perfectly narrated by Celia Imrie.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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