The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy: A Novel

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From the bestselling 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 bestseller, 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 goodbye. 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.

Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

“In the end, this lovely book is full of joy. Much more than the story of a woman’s enduring love for an ordinary, flawed man, it’s an ode to messy, imperfect, glorious, unsung humanity. . . . [Queenie’s] love song is for us. Thank you, Rachel Joyce.”The Washington Post

“Destined to change your world. One can’t help but see life, and the end of it, differently after experiencing this novel. Full of wisdom and heart, it will overwhelm its readers with a deep sensitivity.”—Bookreporter

“[A] beguiling follow-up . . . In telling Queenie’s side of the story, Joyce accomplishes the rare feat of endowing her continuing narrative with as much pathos and warmth, wisdom and poignancy as her debut. Harold was beloved by millions; Queenie will be, too.”Booklist (starred review)

“Delightful and dark . . . But Joyce is so deft that when the book is over and you close the cover, the darkness fades. What sticks with you is the light of Queenie’s unwavering love.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”People

“Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”The Guardian

“Joyce has a wonderfully evocative turn of phrase and like her other books this is a delightful read. . . . Uplifting and moving.”Daily Express

“Joyce nicely calls the book a companion rather than a sequel. But The Love Song is bolder than a retread of the same material from another angle. . . . After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”The Telegraph

“[Joyce] manages to both add depth to an already strong work and build something new and beautiful upon it.”The A.V. Club


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Rachel Joyce
A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

Advance praise for The Music Shop
 
“Magical . . . Joyce has a winner in this deceptively simple love story. . . . Joyce’s odes to music . . . and the notion that the perfect song can transform one’s life make this novel a triumph.”—Publishers Weekly

“Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions.”—Booklist
 
“Joyce sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming.”—Kirkus Reviews


 
Rachel Joyce
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
 
“[Rachel] Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars)
 
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.
 
Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Reviews

4.1
65 total
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Additional Information

Publisher
Random House
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Published on
Mar 3, 2015
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780812996661
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Rachel Joyce
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST
 
“[Rachel] Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars)
 
Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning a letter arrives, addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl, from a woman he hasn’t heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. A novel of charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise—and utterly irresistible—storyteller.
 
Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“A cause for celebration . . . [Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. In this bravely unpretentious and unsentimental take, she’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
 
“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
Rachel Joyce
A spellbinding novel that will resonate with readers of Mark Haddon, Louise Erdrich, and John Irving, Perfect tells the story of a young boy who is thrown into the murky, difficult realities of the adult world with far-reaching consequences.

Byron Hemmings wakes to a morning that looks like any other: his school uniform draped over his wooden desk chair, his sister arguing over the breakfast cereal, the click of his mother’s heels as she crosses the kitchen. But when the three of them leave home, driving into a dense summer fog, the morning takes an unmistakable turn. In one terrible moment, something happens, something completely unexpected and at odds with life as Byron understands it. While his mother seems not to have noticed, eleven-year-old Byron understands that from now on nothing can be the same.
 
What happened and who is to blame? Over the days and weeks that follow, Byron’s perfect world is shattered. Unable to trust his parents, he confides in his best friend, James, and together they concoct a plan. . . .
 
As she did in her debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce has imagined bewitching characters who find their ordinary lives unexpectedly thrown into chaos, who learn that there are times when children must become parents to their parents, and who discover that in confronting the hard truths about their pasts, they will forge unexpected relationships that have profound and surprising impacts. Brimming with love, forgiveness, and redemption, Perfect will cement Rachel Joyce’s reputation as one of fiction’s brightest talents.

Praise for Perfect
 
“Touching, eccentric . . . Joyce does an inviting job of setting up these mysterious circumstances, and of drawing Byron’s magical closeness with Diana.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times
 
“Haunting . . . compelling.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“[Joyce] triumphantly returns with Perfect. . . . As Joyce probes the souls of Diana, Byron and Jim, she reveals—slowly and deliberately, as if peeling back a delicate onion skin—the connection between the two stories, creating a poignant, searching tale.”—O: The Oprah Magazine
 
“Perfect touches on class, mental illness, and the ways a psyche is formed or broken. It has the tenor of a horror film, and yet at the end, in some kind of contortionist trick, the narrative unfolds into an unexpected burst of redemption. [Verdict:] Buy It.”—New York
 
“Joyce’s dark, quiet follow-up to her successful debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, could easily become a book club favorite. . . . Perfect is the kind of book that blossoms under thoughtful examination, its slow tendencies redeemed by moments of loveliness and insight. However sad, Joyce’s messages—about the limitations of time and control, the failures of adults and the fears of children, and our responsibility for our own imprisonment and freedom—have a gentle ring of truth to them.”—The Washington Post
 
“There is a poignancy to Joyce’s narrative that makes for her most memorable writing.”—NPR’s All Things Considered
Rachel Joyce
Rachel Joyce, internationally bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect, delivers an unforgettable Christmas story of moving on from lost love, now available exclusively as an e-short.
 
It’s Christmas Eve, and Binny has only five hours to decorate her house and fix a proper dinner. Dropping her children off at school, she runs into town to do some last-minute shopping, yet her mind and heart are wholly elsewhere. Fighting off the sting of recent heartbreak, Binny stumbles into a small store, and in striking up conversation with the saleswoman she is suddenly overcome with memories of old friends, family, loves that have come and gone. And in this tiny shop, in the unlikely company of a complete stranger, Binny discovers a surprising sense of peace.
 
Includes an enthralling preview of Rachel Joyce’s forthcoming novel Perfect.
 
Praise for Rachel Joyce
 
“Perfect is a poignant and powerful book, rich with empathy and charged with beautiful, atmospheric writing.”—Tana French, author of In the Woods, on Perfect
 
“[Perfect’s] unputdownable factor . . . lies in its exploration of so many multilayered emotions. There is the unbreakable bond between mother and son, the fear of not belonging . . . and how love can offer redemption.”—London Evening Standard, on Perfect
 
“Beguiling . . . enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars), on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
 
“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine, on The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
Rachel Joyce
A love story and a journey through music, the exquisite and perfectly pitched new novel from the bestselling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

It is 1988. On a dead-end street in a run-down suburb there is a music shop that stands small and brightly lit, jam-packed with records of every kind. Like a beacon, the shop attracts the lonely, the sleepless, and the adrift; Frank, the shop’s owner, has a way of connecting his customers with just the piece of music they need. Then, one day, into his shop comes a beautiful young woman, Ilse Brauchmann, who asks Frank to teach her about music. Terrified of real closeness, Frank feels compelled to turn and run, yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems, and Frank has old wounds that threaten to reopen, as well as a past it seems he will never leave behind. Can a man who is so in tune with other people’s needs be so incapable of connecting with the one person who might save him? The journey that these two quirky, wonderful characters make in order to overcome their emotional baggage speaks to the healing power of music—and love—in this poignant, ultimately joyful work of fiction.

Advance praise for The Music Shop
 
“Magical . . . Joyce has a winner in this deceptively simple love story. . . . Joyce’s odes to music . . . and the notion that the perfect song can transform one’s life make this novel a triumph.”—Publishers Weekly

“Whether on foot, as in her novel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, or track by track, on this unlikely musical odyssey, Joyce excels in enveloping readers in epic journeys of lost connections and loving reunions.”—Booklist
 
“Joyce sets up a charming cast of characters, and her spirals into the sonic landscapes of brilliant musicians are delightful, casting a vivid backdrop for the quietly desperate romance between Frank and Ilse. From nocturnes to punk, this musical romance is ripe for filming.”—Kirkus Reviews


 
Rachel Joyce
Meet a pair of beloved characters—Harold Fry and Queenie Hennessy—in an eBook bundle that collects two linked novels from a wise and utterly irresistible storyteller.

“[Rachel Joyce] has a lovely sense of the possibilities of redemption. . . . She’s cleared space where miracles are still possible.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

Rachel Joyce’s unforgettable debut, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, became a runaway international bestseller as readers fell in love with her unassuming hero as he embarked on an incredible adventure spurred by a letter from his old friend Queenie. In The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, Joyce reveals the other side of the story in a journey just as remarkable as Harold’s. Together these exquisite parallel novels illuminate the feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, and the small yet pivotal moments that can change a person’s life.

Praise for The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

“[A] gorgeously poignant novel of hope and transformation.”—O: The Oprah Magazine

“Joyce’s beguiling debut is [a] modest-seeming story of ‘ordinary’ English lives that enthralls and moves you as it unfolds.”—People (four stars)

“The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is not just a book about lost love. It is about all the wonderful everyday things Harold discovers through the mere process of putting one foot in front of the other.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“A moving story about an ordinary man on an extraordinary journey.”—Nancy Horan, author of Loving Frank

“A gentle adventure with an emotional wallop . . . a smart, feel-good story.”—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

“I found myself laughing through tears, rooting for Harold at every step of his journey. I’m still rooting for him.”—Paula McLain, author of The Paris Wife

Praise for The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy

“This lovely book is full of joy. . . . [Queenie’s] love song is for us. Thank you, Rachel Joyce.”—The Washington Post
 
“Joyce’s writing at moments has a simplicity that sings. She captures hope best of all.”—The Guardian
 
“[A] deeply affecting novel . . . Culminating in a shattering revelation, [Queenie’s] tale is funny, sad, hopeful: She’s bound for death, but full of life.”—People
 
“Like Harold Fry, Queenie is delightful and dark. . . . But Joyce is so deft that when the book is over and you close the cover, the darkness fades. What sticks with you is the light of Queenie’s unwavering love.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
 
“Wonderful . . . It is not necessary to read Harold’s story before reading Queenie’s to enjoy this bittersweet novel, which is a pleasure in its own right. However, reading both will only serve to double that pleasure.”—The Independent
 
“After two such involving novels, readers are bound to wish for a third.”—The Telegraph

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