“Maureen” by Rachel Joyce – Book Review

As one of the millions of readers around the world who read and loved “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” and “The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey“, it was a no-brainer that I would read “Maureen“, a novella that completes the story from the point of view of Harold’s wife.

In this book we meet up with the couple when Harold is seventy-five and Maureen is seventy-two. Together they weathered lockdown and are in a comfortable, good place in their long marriage. There is just one thing that mars their equilibrium. Maureen wants to see Queenie’s garden. She feels that she will be able to connect with her son David there. David, her beloved son, commit suicide when he was just twenty years old – thirty years ago. Her grief has never left her.

“David’s loss was her secret. It was the rock against which she was forever shattered.”

She sets out on  a car journey north, leaving Harold behind. She is determined to make the trip with just one night away from her husband. Maureen admits that she is not an ‘easy’ person like her husband. She does not make friends easily and she is every so slightly judgemental… Her road trip contains events that bring Maureen much consternation and discomfort.

“Maureen” is written with Joyce’s usual empathy, pathos, and skill – with more than a bit of levity thrown in to lighten the narrative. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of this author’s work.

Here she writes eloquently of loss, parental bereavement, loneliness, and how, if we really try, we can learn to be the people we would like to be…

Highly recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Random House Publishing Group via NetGalley.

Publication date: February 7, 2023
Publisher: Random House and simultaneously Doubleday Canada

ISBN: 9780593446423   ASIN: ‎ ‎ B09T5WB1WM – 192 pages

the Doubleday cover for “Maureen”

Transworld Digital cover

Great quotes from “Maureen”:
“It wasn’t that he was losing his mind, rather that he was deliberately taking things out of it that he no longer needed.”

“There was only so much you could see of another person’s trouble without getting lost yourself.”

“It struck Maureen that a person could be trapped in a version of themselves that was from another time, and completely miss the happiness that was staring them in the face.”

Rachel Joyce is the author of the Sunday Times and international bestsellers, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect, The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy, The Music Shop, Miss Benson’s Beetle, and a collection of interlinked short stories, A Snow Garden & Other Stories. Her books have been translated into thirty-six languages and two are in development for film.

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Rachel was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards ‘New Writer of the Year’ in December 2010 and shortlisted for the ‘UK Author of the Year’ 2014.

She lives with her husband and family in Gloucestershire, England.

Rachel Joyce on Facebook.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Literary fiction, NetGalley, Novellas, Women's fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to “Maureen” by Rachel Joyce – Book Review

  1. Carla says:

    Wonderful review, Lynne. Maureen was not as easy to like as Harold and Queenie, but by the end, my heart broke for her.


  2. Carol says:

    I loved it as well and feel compelled to reread Harold now! Lovely author!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was a fan of Harold and look forward to spending time with Maureen

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Her books sound very good. I’ve put her name on a list of authors I want to look into.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I definitely want to read or listen to this one Lynne.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Joanne says:

    So lovely isn’t it? Did you see there’s a film of the first book coming out in April? In the UK anyway. There’s a trailer on Rachel Joyce’s Instagram.

    Liked by 3 people

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